Terrible in the rotation and excellent in the bullpen, Brian Matusz still wants to start

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After going 21-33 with a 5.51 ERA in 68 career starts Brian Matusz shifted to the bullpen in the middle of last season and has fared very well as a reliever, throwing 57 innings with a 2.84 ERA, 57/17 K/BB ratio, and .202 opponents’ batting average.

However, the 26-year-old left-hander told Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com that he still hopes to be a starter again for the Orioles, perhaps as soon as next season:

Hopefully. I would like to be given a chance to earn a spot, but my focus right now to win ballgames and make the postseason. That’s something that will be discussed at the end of the season, but ultimately, I’d like to be able to start at some point.

It’s hard to imagine the Orioles feel the same way, although when asked by Dubroff manager Buck Showalter said that Matusz “still possibly has a future as a starter.”

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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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?