A tweet from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale at the owners meetings:
Before you get all excited, remember that Selig says that every single matter that ever comes to his attention is “being considered” or is “under review” and most of the time nothing comes of it. Selig is excellent at communicating his awareness that something controversial has happened. Rarely, if ever, however, does he wade into things and blow them up. Which, to be fair, is usually the right course of action. Baseball is not made better by Selig being some activist commissioner like Roger Goodell or David Stern. Conservatism in a conservative institution is almost always best.
And in this case, as I argued this morning, I highly doubt anything comes of it. Nor should it. Even if Bud is going to play the “I feel your pain, Marlins fans” game for a couple of days.
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?