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NEW YORK (AP) — The baseball players’ association made the second high-profile addition to its staff in a less than a month http://www.redsoxproshops.com/authentic-carl-yastrzemski-jersey , hiring Gary Sheffield business lawyer Xavier James as deputy chief operating officer.James will report to Kevin McGuiness, the union’s chief operating officer since January 2014. James has worked as a special adviser to the union and received $215,168 from it in 2017, according to the union’s financial disclosure statement.Last week, the union announced Bruce Meyer as its new senior director of collective bargaining and legal. Meyer will report directly to union head Tony Clark, who appears to be reforming his senior management ahead of bargaining for a labor contract to replace the deal that expires after the 2021 season. Some players have criticized the free-agent markets under the current five-year agreement.James, who turns 51 on Sept. 23, is a former attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where Meyer also worked. James has undergraduate, law and business degrees from NYU, and also has worked with boxers and other athletes.A resident of suburban White Plains, James said Wednesday he was introduced to Sheffield more than a decade ago after he wrote a letter for DeLeon, the outfielder’s wife, in a matter with a swimming pool contractor. He had known DeLeon Sheffield through a mutual friend.“Players are not necessarily getting their equitable piece of the pie in terms of all the business revenue that’s out there,” James said. “On the operations side, the organization is so small that it behooves everyone to kind of pitch in to make sure from a business perspective players are treated fairly.”James anticipates negotiating deals alongside McGuiness and Tim Slavin Ted Williams Jersey , the union’s chief of business affairs and licensing senior counsel.“I think there’s a lot of revenue that’s out there that could be leveraged on behalf of the players, a lot of opportunity that could be originated by players that will generate revenue,” James said, referring to sponsors and licensees.Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred criticized Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout, a two-time AL MVP, in July for failing to do enough to market himself.“Mike’s a great, great player and a really nice person, but he’s made certain decisions about what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time and how he doesn’t want to spend his free time,” Manfred said before the All-Star Game.Trout responded with a statement “everything is cool between the commissioner and myself.”“I think it behooves everyone to pitch in to market players. The onus shouldn’t be on players necessarily. I think it’s a collective effort,” James said. “I think the macro issue is a real issue, which is how best can we market players, and I think that issue is right to be raised. I don’t think there should be any criticism or a focus on any particular player. I think we should put our heads together to see how we can resolve quote-unquote the problem and ameliorate the marketing of players.” Eric Espada/Getty ImagesOn a deadline day when there was much more quantity (15 trades) than quality, the guy who could make the biggest impact on the rest of the season was the guy who didn't get traded.The teams that made moves concentrated on incremental upgrades that may or may not help them win a championship. The team that made almost no moves showed belief in a team and a star who have so far badly underachieved.The biggest move of the month was the Los Angeles Dodgers trading for Manny Machado, but that happened nearly two weeks ago. The biggest move Tuesday was a non-move, with the Washington Nationals not trading Bryce Harper.The Nationals could look bad鈥攊f their 53-53 team doesn't rally to make the postseason and if Harper leaves as a free agent and they are stuck with only a draft pick in return.Harpers Home Run Derby performance was magical, and the Nationals will need that magic in August and September (and perhaps October).Rob Carr/Getty ImagesBut look at it the other way. They could look great鈥攊f the team responds to win a division that is still ultra-winnable Jim Rice Jersey , and especially if Harper is the one who leads them into October and perhaps past the first round for what would be the first time since the franchise moved from Montreal.With any other 53-53 team, you'd say they were dreaming. In any other division, you might say that, too.But when I contacted a group of major league scouts after Tuesday's deadline to ask about the Nationals' decision to keep Harper, every one of them agreed they did the right thing. And so do I."They [think they] aren't out of it," one American League scout said. "And I agree with them."The Nationals are 5.5 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies and five games behind the second-place Atlanta Braves. The Phillies (with catcher Wilson Ramos) and the Braves (with starting pitcher Kevin Gausman) both made moves Tuesday, but neither was an obvious "this wins it for them" kind of move.Put it this way: If the Nationals had traded for Harper, that would have been by far the biggest move any National League East team made this month鈥攅ven with his .223 batting average.The Nationals could have justified trading him away instead. Ken Rosenthal made an interesting proposal Monday on The Athletic, suggesting the Nats trade Harper as part of a remake that would also include adding catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins.It's not clear whether moves like that were even realistic. The Marlins put a high price tag on Realmuto, according to sources, and in the end did not trade him to anyone.Besides, soon after Rosenthal's column hit the internet, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Harper he was going nowhere."I only got in touch with him when some information came out that we were in the midst of looking to trade Bryce Harper," Rizzo said, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. "And I thought at that time, it was probably a good time to say that was false information and he wasn't going to be traded."By Tuesday morning, Rizzo was telling everyone else the same thing http://www.redsoxproshops.com/authentic-nomar-garciaparra-jersey , with multiple tweets quoting him as saying Harper wouldn't be dealt. The first was this one from Janes:Chelsea Janes chelsea_janesMike Rizzo just reached out with this message: quot;Bryce is not going anywhere. I believe in this team.quot;We may never know exactly what the Nationals could have gotten back in a Harper trade, or what they heard from other teams before deciding to keep him. But the scouts surveyed by Bleacher Report suggested the return would have been underwhelming."It's not like they could get a haul for him," the AL scout said."They probably wouldn't get enough for Harper to justify moving him," a National League scout agreed.Not when they still have a realistic chance to win. Remember, they're not chasing the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees or Houston Astros. They just have to make up ground on the Braves (29-30 over the last two-plus months, entering play Tuesday) and the Phillies (30-28 over a similar span).They can do it, if Stephen Strasburg (pinched nerve in his neck) doesn't spend too much time on the disabled list. They can do it, if Harper can be the most valuable player of the final two months of the season.In Harper's first post-deadline at-bat, he rocketed a double to right-center field to drive in a run Tuesday night against the New York Mets. It was his ninth RBI (and fourth extra-base hit) in 10 games since he lit up Nationals Park and won the Home Run Derby. He added another run-scoring double later in a 25-4 Nationals win that鈥攁t least for a day鈥攎ade the Nationals look like a team on the way up.You wouldn't call it peak Harper, as in the 1.109 OPS he had when he was the 2015 NL MVP, but maybe it's just the start of something big. Maybe this can be the start of something big for the Nationals, who spent 16 days in first place in the first half of the season but never really got going.Maybe instead of putting the NL East away early, as the Nats did when they led the division by 14 games at the end of July 2017, this year can be the season they win it with a furious two-month charge."I honestly think it might be good for us [to do it the tough way]," first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said just before the All-Star break. "The last few times we won the division, we clinched early. You're thinking about days off. It's not that you stop playing Christian Vazquez Jersey , but it's not the same intensity down the stretch."Don't get me wrong, I'd take that, but I think this might be good. Maybe if we get in, maybe we'll go into the playoffs on the upswing."Harper and Rizzo celebrated a division title last September. Less than 11 months later, Rizzo kept Harper and hoped for more celebrations.G Fiume/Getty ImagesWhat they've done before hasn't worked in October. The Nationals have been in the postseason four times since 2012, which was Harper's rookie season. They've lost in the division series each time, each time in excruciating fashion, three times in a decisive fifth game.This year shouldn't be the last chance for a team that has Max Scherzer signed through 2021 and has one of baseball's brightest young stars in 19-year-old Juan Soto. But it could easily be the last chance with Harper, whose Washington future beyond this season remains uncertain.Because of that and because of their sub-.500 record, the Nationals could have justified trading Harper and beginning to rework their roster for 2019. Instead, the only trade they made Tuesday was to send reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs, a move that opened a spot for other relievers they like as much and according to the Washington Post, "because the Nationals believed he was responsible for anonymous reports that painted Washington鈥檚 clubhouse culture as iffy.""I believe in this team," Rizzo said, in the text to Janes.I'm not sure I do, but I believe Rizzo believes. He believes in the Nationals. He absolutely believes in Harper.And now Harper and his team have two (or maybe three) months to justify that belief. Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.
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