Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks

Jim Edmonds criticizes Reds’ doctors, Brandon Phillips

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First, a little backstory here.

Jim Edmonds signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals in February, but was forced to retire weeks later due to a nagging right Achilles injury. It was an injury he dealt with prior to accepting a trade to the Reds last August, but he didn’t have another at-bat after September 21.

OK, now that you’re all caught up, check this out. According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, during a radio interview with KFNS in St. Louis that aired Thursday, Edmonds criticized the Reds for the way the injury was handled.

“It’s still awful. I still can’t do the things I want to do,” Edmonds said. “I’m really frustrated. I don’t know the right words to use towards the Cincinnati doctors. I’m in a situation now where I thought I’d never be in. I went so far in my career without really having a huge injury and had a bunch of surgeries. I thought ‘Gosh, I’m going to be able to get out of this with my health, my kids will be happy and I’m hoping to be able to walk out of this.’ Now I can’t walk and chase my kids around. Surgery is the option right now. That would be a year rehab. I’m not looking forward to that.

“The worst thing I did was accept that trade for [Reds general manager] Walt Jocketty. I should have shut it down and went home. I would be healthy right now and probably playing.”

Ouch. Edmonds also had some choice words for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who was front and center in the infamous benches-clearing brawl with the Cardinals last September. The brawl occurred just one day after Edmonds was acquired from the Brewers.

“Other than that one situation with that one player, they’re a young, talented, nice group of guys,” Edmonds said, referring to Phillips. “I think that one incident was very unfortunate and it put a black eye on the rest of the rivalry. … He says he wouldn’t take it back, but hopefully he learned from that and realizes that he was overboard there and causing another distraction that especially the Reds didn’t need.”

Meanwhile, Phillips took to his Twitter feed to respond yesterday, saying the following:

LOL. Awww! That’s so sweet! Trust me, there are so many things I can say about him [and] y’all would look at him different! “HATER IN DA HOUSE”

We’ll probably never know if Edmonds has a legitimate gripe with the Reds doctors — remember, this is a 40-year-old we’re not talking about, not someone who is 25 — but it’s safe to say that the rivalry between the Reds and Cardinals just got a little more juice. As if it needed it.

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)
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: