The Mets sent Carlos Beltran to the Giants in July, but they were surprisingly unwilling to deal any of their lesser free-agents-to-be, a group that included Chris Capuano, Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak. Today they retained the least expensive member of that bunch for 2012, signing the 37-year-old Byrdak to a one-year extension.
Byrdak, who signed a minor league deal in January after being let go by the Astros two months earlier, has a 2.95 ERA in 68 appearances this season. A true specialist, he’s thrown only 36 2/3 innings. Lefties, though, have his just .202 against him, and he has a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings since June 1.
The value of the deal wasn’t announced, but it’s safe to say it’s somewhere in the $1.2 million-$1.5 million range. Byrdak made $1.6 million last year with Houston, and he’s earned $900,000 with the Mets this season.
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?