Busting the "he just knows how to win" myth for CC Sabathia

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Last season’s Cy Young voting was a major step in the right direction when it comes to no longer judging starting pitchers on wins and losses, but Felix Hernandez still seems likely to lose votes this year because the Mariners’ pathetic offense has left him with an 11-10 record despite a 2.30 ERA and league-leading 219.1 innings.
Several prominent columnists and reporters have already started making noise about CC Sabathia having an edge over Hernandez due to his 19-5 record, but Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times provides a thorough analysis of why the notion of Sabathia “knowing how to win” is all kinds of wrong.
Hernandez has a 2.30 ERA in 219 innings. Sabathia has a 3.02 ERA in 203 innings. If you’re making an argument that Sabathia is deserving of the Cy Young award at this point … well, you’re doing something other than picking the best pitcher. Check out Baker’s article for more on why that’s the case.

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?