Studio balks at Moneyball, but movie not dead yet

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Columbia Pictures was scheduled to begin production on the Moneyball movie today with three months of preparation and a $50 million budget, but Variety reports that the studio stepped away from the Brad Pitt-Steven Soderbergh project at the last minute.

Moneyball has been placed into
“limited turnaround,” which apparently means that other studios are now
free to acquire the film’s rights. Variety
speculates that Warner Brothers and Paramount could be interested, so
we may still see Pitt portraying Billy Beane on the big screen.

For whatever it’s worth, I’ve always been skeptical about the Michael Lewis bestseller having the potential to be a big-budget movie and Variety
notes that Columbia Pictures boss Amy Pascal “read a rewrite that
Soderbergh did to Steven Zaillian’s script and found it very different
from the earlier scripts she championed,” so it’s possible that
attempts to punch up the relatively action-less plot led to the studio
balking.

Or maybe everyone just finally realized the possible insanity behind Soderbergh’s idea to use an animated Bill James as “this sort of oracle character that appears throughout and declaims various issues.”

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.