Joe Torre spent a year in the league office of Major League Baseball, handing out discipline to players, dealing with postponements in the playoffs and pretending to supervise umpires while really doing nothing to fix bad umpiring all. Then he quit to try to buy the Dodgers.
That didn’t work and, Major League Baseball just announced, Torre is back in the fold:
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that Joe Torre has rejoined Major League Baseball as Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations … Torre originally joined Major League Baseball in February of 2011, overseeing areas that include Major League Operations, Umpiring, On-Field Operations and On-Field Discipline. In the capacity to which he is returning, Torre serves as the Office of the Commissioner’s primary liaison to the general managers and field managers of the 30 Major League Clubs regarding all baseball and on-field matters.
I guess it’s a different job than his old one. But he’s still probably gonna be mad when he gets back to his office and finds out that, right after he left, someone took his stapler, his desk chair and that ergonomic keyboard that he really had to pull some strings to get.
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?