And may have cost the Reds the game.
Phillips had already hit a homer off John Maine last night. In the third inning he hit another blast. Only problems: (a) it didn’t go out of the park; and (b) Phillips admired his handiwork with a casual trot out of the batter’s box and wound up with a double. Dusty Baker said after the game that he thought it should have been a triple. Based on balls I’ve seen hit to that part of the Great American Ballpark in the past, I’d have to agree.
This was huge, because Joey Votto came to bat next and hit a deep fly to left field which would have scored Phillps had be been standing on third. The Reds ended up losing the game by one.
You’d figure that Phillips would get benched or something for this, but it sounds like Dusty Baker is treating him like the parents on 1980s sitcoms treated their kids:
“He’s been talked to about this. We’ve talked to
Brandon quite often. I guess he’s better than he used to be. We’re trying to get him to
the point where he can be a big difference maker every day. He certainly
has the skill and ability. What’s tough as a manager is when you’ve got an A student who’s
I haven’t seen “tough love” like that since “Growing Pains” went off the air. Wait, that’s not true. I think even even Mike Seaver would’ve gotten grounded over a boner like that.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.