Nomar is speaking right now. He’s pretty emotional, but upbeat. He said that he knew he was ready to retire when he was working out this offseason and realized that he had nothing left. He recalled something one of his old teammates said when he retired: “I know my tank is empty.”
I took this to be a positive statement, not a negative one. It’s not that he still wants to play and doesn’t have the fuel at the ready to do it. He means that he’s given everything he had to give and won’t have any regrets later. For what it’s worth, Nomar confirmed that he’s taking a job with ESPN, saying “even though I’m walking away from the game, I’m glad I don’t have to walk away completely.”
As for the sign-and-retire thing, Nomar said it was his idea — inspired in no small part by the warm ovation he received when he came back to Boston as a visiting player with the A’s last summer — and that he approached Theo Epstein about it first. The Sox’ position: “When the history of the Boston Red Sox is written — again — there will be a very large and important chapter about Nomar Garciaparra.”
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?