In a move that positions him as the favorite to become Major League Baseball's next commissioner, Rob Manfred was selected Monday as chief operating officer.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who made the appointment, has not had a second-in-command since he fired Bob DuPuy in 2010. In a statement, MLB said Manfred would run the commissioner's office on a day-to-day basis while Selig focuses on big-picture issues "in preparing for his retirement."
Selig's retirement is effective in January 2015. Though team owners decide on the new commissioner, Selig's public vote of confidence in Manfred is expected to be influential. There has been no announcement of the formation of a search committee or the retention of a search firm.
Manfred, 55, is baseball's top labor negotiator, and he has represented owners in collective bargaining talks in 2002, 2006 and 2011. Each round of talks concluded without a strike or lockout.
Manfred also handles the structure and implementation of baseball's drug policy. In addition, he was the point man in the Dodgers' bankruptcy and sale, and the approval of the team's new $8.5-billion television contract with Time Warner Cable.