Some people get accused of being conspiracy theorists. I tend to get accused of erring too far in the other direction and not giving enough credence to conspiracy theories. Because sometimes they are true, after all. My defense: I’m an Occam’s Razor kind of guy and the simpler the explanation is usually the better explanation in my experience.
However, over at The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man has a conspiracy theory that I’m not inclined to dismiss as quickly as I usually dismiss such things. He notes that there weren’t as many replays of close plays in last night’s Rangers-Rays game as you might expect, and then comes out and says why this might be:
To The Common Man, it suggests that perhaps TBS was asked not to make a
big deal out of potentially missed calls. This would seem to jive with
an earlier play in the San Francisco-Atlanta series, where Buster Posey
was clearly out at 2B, but announcers refused to acknowledge it, in
spite of the video evidence to the contrary (and Posey saying after the
game “it’s a good thing we don’t have instant replay).
If this is the
case, it seems likely that the commissioner’s office has made conscious
decision not just to ignore the loud cries for expanded instant replay,
but to tacitly suppress them by denying these voices additional evidence
with which to make their case.
I thought the Posey thing was totally bizarre, and was made even more bizarre when Mat Winer, the studio host, said he thought Posey was safe and was basically laughed off the stage by David Wells, Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley. Winer would be beholden to a TBS/MLB mandate in ways that Eck, Ripken and Boomer really wouldn’t be.
I’m not saying that TCM is right about this because, like I said, Occam’s Razor is a powerful weapon. It may just be the case that the production crew was thinking about other things or the pitchers were working too quickly — Cliff Lee was at any rate — to shoehorn in as many replays as you usually see.
But it is . . . curious, is it not?
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.