Tomorrow afternoon is the deadline for the Rockies to work out a trade for Wandy Rodriguez after claiming him off waivers, but Astros general manager Ed Wade told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that he doesn’t expect a deal to happen:
I can’t make predictions. I don’t predict what could happen, but my gut tells me at this point there’s no reason to believe that Wandy will be pitching anywhere than wherever we’re playing in five days, which is Houston.
Breaking news: Ed Wade physically unable to make predictions. Or something.
Anyway, there was some speculation earlier this week that the Astros might simply let any team claiming Rodriguez have the 32-year-old southpaw and his remaining contract, but instead Wade is reportedly holding out for a significant return in addition to salary relief.
In the meantime Rodriguez is starting against the Rockies today, in Colorado, which is a weird situation to say the least. And he coughed up four runs in the first inning.
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?