Kevin Kouzmanoff spent part of last season at Triple-A and he’ll begin this season back in the minors, as the Royals sent him down as part of their latest round of cuts.
Kouzmanoff hasn’t been the same since the Padres traded him in January of 2010, which is odd because calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home in San Diego always hurt his raw production quite a bit.
He was traded to the A’s and hit just .242 with a .666 OPS in 189 games, was even worse in limited action with the Rockies after that, and couldn’t win a spot on the Royals’ bench this spring.
He’s still just 30 years old and Kouzmanoff crushed Triple-A pitching last year, but at this point he fits best as a platoon corner infielder and the Royals weren’t going to bench Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas versus lefties.
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?