It seems like every time a pitcher goes through a slump, or has a bad game, someone eventually brings up the idea of pitch-tipping. Welcome to the party, Cole Hamels.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News (via Sporting News), “sources” were concerned that Hamels was giving something away in his poor-but-effective-enough outing against the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS. The solution? Wear a bigger glove.
The sources said the lefthander might have been tipping his pitches by the placement of his wrist. So the plan was to have Hamels use a bigger model of his TPK glove to conceal his wrist.
Daily News writer Paul Hagen writes, “Phillies personnel wouldn’t confirm the switch. ‘But that would make sense,’ one insider allowed with a knowing smile.”
I’m not sure how much sense that makes. Wouldn’t you just hold your wrist differently? If you’re hungry, would you solve the problem by grabbing a bigger napkin?
Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of the old pitch-tipping excuse. It always seems like just that: an excuse.
That being said, the Dodgers did tee off on Hamels at times in Wednesday’s game. And according to this story, some teams do put quite a bit of effort into examining the actions of opposing pitchers. So maybe there is something to this.
I guess we’ll have to wait until the World Series and see how Hamels does with his new glove. I think he’s set to start sometime in February.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).