UPDATE, 4:07 p.m. ET: Well that didn’t take long. Spencer reports that Martinez has resigned from the Marlins.
You can understand how a hitting coach might be upset with a team that has registered a collective .233/.292/.337 batting line. But this is — at any level of baseball — taking it too far:
Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez was poised to resign after a player notified the team Martinez erupted in anger unjustly and grabbed him by his neck and neck chain, according to multiple sources.
But sources said team owner Jeffrey Loria, who made the decision to hire Martinez, nixed the idea, at least for now.
That story comes from the Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer, who has identified the victim in that particular incident as second baseman Derek Dietrich. Spencer heard from an unnamed Marlins player that Martinez has also been either physically or verbally abusive this year to outfielder Justin Ruggiano, veteran infielder Chris Valaika and minor-league infielder Matt Downs.
Martinez, 45, had never coached at the MLB level prior to this year. He was a hand-picked hire by Loria.
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?