This isn’t just Derek Jeter’s farewell season. Bud Selig has remained adamant that he will retire from his position as MLB commissioner following the 2014 campaign. 

According to The Wall Street Journal‘s Brian Costa, the league has already begun the process to find a replacement, with Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred serving as the leading candidate:

Costa added some more details:

Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer and longtime labor chief, who has Selig’s support, has the backing of roughly 20 owners, according to interviews with four high-ranking team executives. And while a formal vote is still likely months away—a candidate must receive at least 23 votes to win the job—a clear rival to Manfred has yet to emerge.

Manfred, who was promoted to COO following the 2013 season, has long been seen as Selig’s heir apparent. He has been a major part in negotiating several collective bargaining agreements and most recently led the investigative effort against Alex Rodriguez and other players in the Biogenesis scandal. 

The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Chris De Luca put it simply:

Still, not all the owners favor him. 

Back in May, The New York Times‘ Michael S. Schmidt reported that Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was opposed to Selig hand-picking his replacement and thus not on board with the candidacy of Manfred, Selig’s right-hand man. 

Whoever ultimately gets the job is going to have some big shoes to fill. 

Selig, who has been commissioner since 1992, recently talked about his legacy, via The Boston Globe‘s Dan Shaughnessy:

I’ve thought a lot about it and I guess when all is said and done, I’d say the economic reformation of the sport [is the legacy] because there have been so many manifestations of that … We have the best competitive balance we’ve ever had and it’s led to so many other things.

Selig has had plenty of hiccups, from the infamous All-Star game tie to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series to the steroid era, but there’s no question the league has taken massive steps forward during his reign. 

It’s going to take an impressive candidate to continue to grow the league while handling a number of looming issues. The MASN negotiations could still be ongoing when Selig retires, and there’s always the presence of performance-enhancing drugs that threatens to put an ugly blemish on the game. 

For now, though, it appears Selig and many of the owners are confident that Manfred is the man for the job. 

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