The case for the Mets signing Elijah Dukes

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As soon as Elijah Dukes was released today people starting snarking “just watch, the Mets will sign him.”  Howard Megdal of the New York Baseball Digest doesn’t consider that to be snark at all.  The upshot: Dukes is better than Gary Matthews, who the Mets will probably start, so at the very least he’d fit in as a backup, right?

I think Dukes is still capable of being a good player, he’s certainly inexpensive and he is probably worth a flier. Just not by the Mets. If there’s something a guy with Dukes’ history doesn’t need is an alternately bored and rabid press like that which covers the New York teams.  How about someplace quiet like Kansas City or Pittsburgh or some other island of misfit baseball toys? Places where he’ll (a) represent an upgrade; and (b) won’t be subjected to the kind of scrutiny that he, quite frankly, doesn’t want and doesn’t need.

Of course, given my biases and rooting interests, if the Mets are hellbent on signing him, far be it from me to get in their way . . .

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.