The Padres acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds today as part of their massive haul for Mat Latos, which has led many to wonder whether prospect first baseman Anthony Rizzo will become a trade chip.
With that in mind, Padres general manager Josh Byrnes told Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio this afternoon that the plan right now is for Alonso to play first base at the major league level and Rizzo to continue his development in the minors.
Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade last December, made his major league debut this past season and batted just .141 with one home run and 46 strikeouts in 128 at-bats. However, it’s way too soon to call the 22-year-old a bust, as many still like him for his patience and power potential. In fact, Baseball America ranked him as the organization’s top prospect earlier this week. Of course, it’s possible new GM Josh Byrnes views him differently than Jed Hoyer did.
The Padres have no sense of urgency to deal Rizzo right away, but most seem to think a trade is inevitable. This is just speculation for now, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote this afternoon that some wonder whether Rizzo would make sense in a package for Rays’ right-hander Wade Davis. The 26-year-old right-hander signed a four-year, $12.6 million extension earlier this year which includes a series of affordable club options from 2015-2017.
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?