On the New York Yankees, that is:
“I am going to start looking around. Teams are getting better and there
are teams interested. I can’t wait
forever and I am sure [the Yankees] are trying to figure things out. I
have to be ready . . . Matt Holliday, the stuff on him is starting to pick up. And wherever Bay doesn’t end up will open a
door for me.”
This sounds an awful lot like my kids when they threaten to run away from home. “I’m really goin’, you watch . . . I’m walkin’ to the door . . .I’m puttin’ my hand on the handle . . . I’m turnin’ the handle . . . I’m about to run away . . . here I go . . .”
My kids always come back and eat their vegetables. Johnny Damon will come back and take his two year deal. I let my kids douse the veggies in ranch dressing to make it more palatable. I suppose the Yankees will build in some elaborate vesting option to do the same for Damon. But really: my kids ultimately have to do what I say, and Damon ultimately wants to stay in New York. The Yankees and I have all the cards in our respective transactions.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?