Blue Jays All-Star catcher John Buck is drawing a lot of interest, reports Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, with the Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, and Phillies all scouting last night’s Royals-Jays game. Of course, take any reports based on scouting with a grain of salt, especially when teams who are perfectly set at catcher like the Twins are mentioned.
For those who do need a catcher, Buck is a fairly attractive option. He has some punch, leading regular AL catchers not named Carlos Santana in slugging percentage this year. He’s also owed less than a million bucks for the remainder of the season and will be a free agent come winter, so there’s no expensive, long term commitments involved. Perfect one night stand material, if you wish to put it in that creepy, creepy way.
The Tigers make sense in that they could use a catcher and a bat. Elliott also mentions the Red Sox and Reds, both of which make some amount of sense (though the Sox will be getting decent catchers back soon enough.
All of this still has me wondering why the Royals chose to pay Jason Kendall three times as much money as Buck ended up getting rather than just sticking with Buck after last season. In terms of both production and trade value, Buck is about a gajillion times better.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.