A rather severe penalty for an incident that was actually incited by the ump.
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended three games and fined for bumping home plate umpire Tony Randazzo after being ejected from Saturday’s game against the Athletics.
Papelbon is appealing the penalty and will be available to pitch tonight.
Papelbon has maintained that he was talking to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and not Randazzo during the exchange that led to Saturday’s incident. After Papelbon turned around, Randazzo stepped out from behind home plate and took a couple of steps towards the mound, shouting back to Papelbon.
As soon as Randazzo made that move, it was a given that Papelbon would be ejected. There was no other way it could have played out. Papelbon, of course, took the invitation and went chest-to-chest with Randazzo. He didn’t appear to intentionally bump Randazzo at any time, but there was definitely some contact.
Given the circumstances, Papelbon would seem to have a pretty good chance of getting the penalty reduced. Randazzo was just as much of a hot-head as he was, and there was no obvious intent to bump (or grind) on Papelbon’s part.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.
Update (7:05 PM EST): The Rays and Dodgers have both announced the trade.
Update (6:57 PM EST): That was fast. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the two sides have agreed to the trade. Forsythe for De Leon. An announcement is expected shortly.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Dodgers and Rays are “deep into discussions” on a trade involving second baseman Logan Forsythe. Passan adds that the two sides have discussed pitcher Jose De Leon — the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect — as part of the return for Forsythe, but it’s unclear if he’s in the deal currently being discussed.
Forsythe, 30, hit a productive .264/.333/.444 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 567 plate appearances in 2016. He was even better the year before, finishing with an .804 OPS. Forsythe can fill the Dodgers’ obvious need at second base, but he also has experience playing third base, first base, shortstop, and corner outfield.
Forsythe is entering the second year of his two-year, $10.25 million contract extension with the Rays. He’ll earn $5.75 million in 2017 and his controlling team has an $8.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout for the 2018 season.