Bob Howry retires after 13 seasons in the majors

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Bob Howry has announced his retirement at age 37 after spending 13 seasons as a reliever for the White Sox, Cubs, Red Sox, Indians, Diamondbacks, and Giants.

Howry was drafted by the Giants in 1994 and came to the White Sox in the infamous “white flag” trade in mid-1997. He finally wound up in San Francisco a dozen years later, signing with the Giants as a free agent. That proved to be Howry’s second-to-last season, as he struggled with the Diamondbacks and Cubs last year and has now called it quits.

Among active pitchers (or at least pitchers who were active in 2010), only Trevor Hoffman (1,035) and Billy Wagner (853) have appeared in more career games than Howry (769) without ever making a start. He also ranks fifth among all active relievers in seasons with 50 or more innings and a sub-3.50 ERA with six.

Howry never really got an extended opportunity to close after saving 28 games for the White Sox as a 25-year-old in 1999, but he was one of the best setup men in baseball for a decade and finishes with a 3.84 ERA in 788 career innings.

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?