In case you forgot how bad Travis Hafner's contract was

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Nothing too Earth shattering in this article about Travis Hafner. Just your run-of-the-mill “Player X is feeling great and ready to contribute next season” piece.  But man, I had forgotten just how bad a deal the Tribe made with this guy:

Though the Indians have young, emerging talent in the likes Shin-Soo
Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt LaPorta, having a veteran power bat in
the middle of the order remains a must.

Especially when you remember the Tribe still owes Hafner $11.5
million in 2010, $13 million in 2011 and $13 million in 2012. And don’t
forget that $2.75 million buyout if his 2013 club option isn’t
exercised.

Sweet sassy-molassy that’s a lot of money to pay a guy who could hit a few years ago.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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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?