The umpiring crews for the League Championship Series have been announced, and as prescribed, Joe West and Angel Hernandez will get a welcome respite.
ALCS: Tim Welke (crew chief), Larry Vanover, Jim Wolf, Fieldin Culbreth, Jeff Nelson and Tom Hallion
NLCS: Gary Darling (crew chief), Tim Timmons, Sam Holbrook, Mike Everitt, Bill Miller and Mike Winters
Umpires cannot work consecutive postseason series, so it was already a given that West and Hernandez, both of whom have worked LDS games, would have next week off. We’ll have a better idea how MLB rates its umps when the World Series crew is announced.
For what it’s worth, last year’s World Series crew was similar to this year’s NLCS crew: Gary Darling, Sam Holbrook, Bill Miller and Mike Winters also worked that one and were joined by John Hirschbeck and Jeff Kellogg.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.