Yasiel Puig shows up late to the ballpark today, gets benched

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Dude. I’ve done my damndest to defend you, but at some point you gotta help me help you:

Kemp was supposed to sit this one out, but Mattingly has benched Puig. Which — my past defenses of him notwithstanding — is exactly what he should do in this situation. Do the crime, such as it is, do the time.

My beef has never been with Mattingly or the Dodgers handling Puig the way he should be handled. It’s been about overreaction of the media with respect to his behavior and the implication that he’s not manageable via the same means via which any other ballplayer is subject.

This is a clear violation of Puig’s responsibilities. Mattingly has made him pay for it. Now let’s see if that’s good enough for everyone. I feel like it won’t be.

UPDATE: Nope, it isn’t. Read this for the most ridiculously over-heated response to this.

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?