Just one day after tying Ken Griffey, Jr. on the all-time home run list, Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols has landed on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his left knee. It’s not clear exactly when the injury developed or how long Pujols will be sidelined, though it seems likely that he’ll rejoin the team soon after the All-Star break next week.
The 38-year-old hitter hasn’t paid a visit to the disabled list since 2013. He’s currently batting at a clip of .251/.291/.432 with 16 home runs and a .723 OPS through his first 268 plate appearances. As the Angels are currently slated to face the Dodgers during their last pre- All-Star Break series, they’ll be able to spare their DH for a few days while they keep an eye on his condition.
In corresponding moves, the team optioned outfielder Michael Hermosillo to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled fellow outfielder Jabari Blash and first baseman Jose Fernandez. While Blash didn’t make much of his major league call-up earlier this season, his Triple-A numbers are impressive: a .327/.438/.755 batting line, 23 home runs, and a 1.193 OPS in 249 PA. Fernandez, likewise, left behind a .333 average and 11 homers in Salt Lake, and will try to replicate those numbers as he plays backup to Jefry Marte at first base.
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?