With less than 22 hours to go before the trade deadline, Ubaldo Jimenez is in San Diego and ready to make his start Saturday night for the Rockies.
YES Network’s Jack Curry and SI.com’s Jon Heyman are both reporting that the Rockies are asking for catcher Jesus Montero, right-hander Dellin Betances and right-hander Ivan Nova from the Yankees for Jimenez. It’s down from the original request, which included top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos, but it still sounds as though the Yankees aren’t interested in giving up both Montero and Betances in the same deal.
ESPN’s Buster Olney says rival executives believe the Indians have the best chance of getting a deal done with the Rockies. They’re believed to have top pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz in their offer.
The Tigers, on the other hand, may be out of the mix, even though they dangled their No. 1 pitching prospect, Jacob Turner. The 20-year-old Turner made his major league debut Saturday, allowing two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Angels.
There’s also been word that the Red Sox haven’t been in touch with the Rockies since Thursday. They may be more focused on Hiroki Kuroda at the moment.
So, we’ll see what happens tonight. If Jimenez is lights out, the Yankees or Indians might be more inclined to meet the Rockies’ steep asking price.
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.
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: