Joe Maddon was understandably upset at the Joe West nonsense last night, so it’s not surprising that he said after the game that there should be more instant replay in baseball. Speaking to reporters after a good night’s sleep, however, he had a pretty good idea:
“If you really want to be intelligent about it, technology is a part of our game. The fact that replay is already utilized, those are moments that you can review at the end of the season. Log them all and then see if there is any kind of common thread and say, ‘Now this should be reviewable.'”
It’s cool and radical so baseball will never do it, but why not start up a review pilot program. Or a shadow program or whatever you want to call it. They can do it via TV monitors back at Major League Baseball headquarters if they want. Just have a guy pretending to be that eye in the sky I’m always going on about. Figure out how many times he’d call down to the crew chief to overturn a call. Figure out how long it would take him to make a different call than the umps on the field and make his phony call. Log which calls would be most frequently subject to it and how many total calls replay would overturn a year.
Doing such a thing would, at the very least be instructive. If certain patterns were found it would help train umpires. If replay is ultimately expanded into other areas, you’d have some factual findings which could head off pushback and criticism from umpires and players and whoever else may be inclined to knock the idea.
Knowledge is power, right?
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.