Red Sox should forgo Halladay for Holliday

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halladay throwing.jpgAfter all, it’s only money.
The addition of Roy Halladay to Boston’s already fine rotation would certainly provide a boost. Halladay is clearly one of the top five pitchers in baseball, and he’s about as much of a Yankee killer as anyone in the league, having gone 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA and seven complete games in 35 starts and two relief appearances against the Bombers.
But the price tag is simply too big. The Jays will demand at least two top youngsters as part of a deal. In Boston’s case, that will mean Clay Buchholz and perhaps Casey Kelly, their No. 1 prospect. It might be worth it if Halladay were underpaid, but the 32-year-old is just one year away from free agency, and he’s set to earn $15.7 million next season. He’ll almost surely demand a higher salary in 2011 and beyond as part of a contract extension.
Buchholz, on the other hand, will make less than $500,000 next season and is under control for five more years. He went 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 16 starts last season and impressed in his lone playoff start against the Angels. He has his quirks, for sure, but he also possesses a 92-95 mph fastball and an excellent changeup as part of a four-pitch arsenal. He’s poised to win 15 games for the Red Sox in 2010. Halladay might well win 20, but he’d eat up a significant chunk of the payroll in the process and cost Boston one or two more top youngsters.
That’s why it makes tons of sense to go after Matt Holliday instead. The only cost will be money. In fact, Boston would even pick up a draft pick in the process, since they’d lose a first-rounder for signing Holliday but gain two picks as a result of Jason Bay’s departure. Holiday is due about $20 million per year, which is probably close to what Halladay will want as part of an extension.
The Red Sox can afford that price tag and stay the course with a rotation that will include Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Buchholz and Tim Wakefield. The time for reevaluation will be in a year, when Halladay, Beckett, Cliff Lee and Brandon Webb are all set to become free agents.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: