I’m not going to call it a blown call, since it wasn’t at all obvious live. Nevertheless, Friday’s game at Wrigley ended on a wrong call that gave the Cubs a 4-3 win over the Astros in 12 innings.
The bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of the 12th at the time of the play. David Carpenter was on the mound for Houston, with Marlon Byrd hitting for the Cubs. Byrd delivered a swinging bunt down the third base line. It actually bounced right on the line before Astros third baseman Chris Johnson went to play the hop. Johnson, standing in foul territory, had the ball go off his glove, at which point the ball kicked up some chalk again.
Watching it live, it did look like a fair ball, which was the ruling from home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson. However, on slow-motion replay, the ball clearly hit the ground in foul territory while also hitting Johnson’s glove. It then kicked back into fair territory.
Byrd was awarded the hit, which scored Starlin Castro from third.
Since it was a contest involving a couple of also-rans, there won’t be a whole lot of controversy about this one. However, the game shouldn’t have ended when it did and the Astros may not have deserved their 99th loss today.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.