The Orioles signed Manny Machado to a one-year, $519,000 contract renewal on Monday — standard operating procedure for a pre-arbitration player.
The salary is $19,000 more than the major league minimum and Machado also gets a $100,000 bonus for winning the 2013 Platinum Glove Award in the American League. But he is not celebrating.
According to beat writer Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the young third baseman called the salary “disappointing” in a chat with reporters on Monday evening in camp. “I’d love to be an Oriole forever,” Machado continued. “I love the organization, I love the fans here. I love everything about this, and putting the uniform on every day. I just want to be treated fairly. That’s it.”
Mike Trout’s agent expressed a similar feeling of frustration last March when his client was renewed for just $510,000 by the Angels. But this is the agreed-upon system and it does reward players eventually.
Trout will be eligible for salary arbitration next winter. Machado becomes eligible heading into 2016.
Macahdo, 21, batted .283/.314/.432 with 51 doubles, 14 home runs, and 71 RBI in 156 games last season for Baltimore. He is hoping to be fully recovered from October knee surgery by Opening Day.
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?