It's too early to answer one monumental question facing Major League Baseball

Arizona Sports News online

You can only take a man at his word.

If those words are indeed true we will see a new leader running Major League Baseball at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Like a marriage, part-time Scottsdale resident and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s two decade-long tenure has been filled with good times and bad. From the depths of PED-tarnished incidents which have served as body shots to the game, to the financial windfall from a $1.2 billion business when Selig started to a $8-plus billion industry today, his life as Commissioner has been a roller coaster.

“There’s nobody that jumps out right now.”

Many believe Selig, who makes a reported annual salary of close to $18 million, will walk away into retirement in January of 2015.

So what’s next?

More importantly, who’s next?

“I was talking to somebody from the Commissioner’s office recently,”  ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez told in a recent telephone interview. “They were saying there’s nobody. There’s nobody that jumps out right now.”

The past has proven MLB could go outside the game to find Selig’s successor much like when Peter Ueberroth took over for Bowie Kuhn in 1984. Ueberroth was working as the main organizer for the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles.

With that being said, as baseball has evolved over the past two decades, it appears unlikely the owners would be interested in an outside party. Their main priority is to protect their own interests, something the popular Selig excelled at inside ownership circles.

One name who could emerge as a candidate has worked closely with Commissioner Selig in the past.

“Rob Manfred comes to mind,” Gomez said describing MLB’s current Executive Vice President of Economics and League Affairs. “Especially the way he spear-headed the PED investigation this time around. There’s no doubt that he can build a case and there are owners who can say look at what Rob did for us.”

Gomez believes the owners would like to go younger with Selig’s replacement. A forward-thinker who embraces technology and change, two things which have hindered the growth and betterment of the game.

Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall has also been linked as a possible candidate.