When asked why he was held out of tonight’s starting lineup against the White Sox, Orioles slugger Chris Davis told reporters that it was “probably because I’ve been sucking lately.” He has to feel a little bit better about himself right now.
Davis delivered a pinch-hit walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning tonight to lead the Orioles to a dramatic 6-4 win over the White Sox. Chicago’s closer, Ronald Belisario, was protecting a one-run lead to begin the inning, but he quickly got into trouble after giving up a leadoff single to Steve Pearce and hitting Adam Jones with a pitch. He struck out Nelson Cruz for the first out, but Davis pinch-hit for Delmon Young and sent the Camden Yards faifthful home happy with this blast to right-center field:
Davis entered tonight’s action with just four hits in his last 36 at-bats. Talk about your slump-busters.
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?