I know it’s his big day down here in Ft. Myers and everything, but I’m gonna call b.s. on this quote by Theo Epstein:
“For a long time, the Red Sox were Nomar Garciaparra”
Nomar was really good in Boston, and often great, but I don’t know that it’s accurate to really say that the Sox were “Nomar’s team” at any given time. Seems that in 1997 it was still Mo Vaughn’s team in a lot of ways. Between 1998 and, oh, let’s call it 2000, Pedro had quite a claim to being The Man alongside Nomar. Two things happened in 2001: Nomar spent much of the season out with an injury and Manny Ramirez showed up, raking and acting like a madman. In 2003 he was joined by David Ortiz. In 2004, well, we all know what happened in 2004.
I’m not trying to be a jackass about it. Nomar was important to the Red Sox. I just don’t think it’s fair to say that the Red Sox “were 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?