The Wilson Ramos kidnappers were a bunch of amateurs

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FC alerts us to an English language version of a story from Venezuela which reports that the guys who kidnapped Wilson Ramos were a bunch of amateurs.  Like, literally amateurs. As FC notes, the more expansive Spanish language version of the report notes that only two of the six kidnappers had criminal records.

They were also amateurs in execution of the plot. They didn’t wear masks, allowing composite sketches to be made. A car was found, helping authorities ID the suspects. The time of day of the kidnapping meant that there were lots of witnesses.  Master criminals they were not.

You know, as soon as the Ramos kidnapping was reported, a lot of people were tweeting and emailing me “Big Lebowski” quotes.  That kind of thing was obviously in poor taste because Ramos was in real peril so I wasn’t about to give them voice around here.  But now that he’s back safe and these guys were caught, I’m starting to think that, however inappropriate those comments were, they weren’t necessarily wrong.

Effin’ amateurs.

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?