The Cubs don’t think yesterday’s dustup was a big deal

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The little fracas between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez was just frustration at a bad, error-filled and dinger-filled inning, the Cubs said late yesterday. No biggie and they’re past it now.  Aramis Ramirez:

“That was the only thing that happened, so it was obvious he was kind of upset … We talked about it, and everything’s cool.”

Mike Quade:

“I’d almost rather (have) that than complacency. There’s a point where this kind of thing goes overboard as well. But as frustrated as I was watching and everything else, you almost wonder ‘Is anyone going to say something besides me?'”

I guess I was wrong yesterday when I said they were in midseason form. If they were, this would have lasted much longer. It’s still spring training for dysfunctional ballclubs too. While they may be able to hold a grudge and make things ugly for an extended period in July, you have to expect much shorter performances in the early part of March.

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?