Report: Astros receive permission to interview Rays’ Andrew Friedman

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According to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have received permission to interview Rays’ executive vice president Andrew Friedman for their general manager vacancy.

The Astros have requested interviews with “a handful” of other candidates for the job, but Justice hears that Friedman is their No. 1 target to replace Ed Wade.

As you may recall, the 34-year-old Friedman dined with with Angels owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino last month, though it’s unclear whether he seriously considered joining their front office. Many believe that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to lure Friedman away from Tampa Bay, as he is very close with owner Stu Sternberg. It’s hard to believe Friedman would join the Astros if he didn’t take the Angels’ job, at least from a pure baseball perspective, but it is worth noting that he is from Houston. Hey, stranger things, right?

Justice hears that two members of the Rangers’ front office — assistant general manager Thad Levine and senior director of player personnel A.J. Preller  —- are also believed to be under consideration for the job while former Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker will not be interviewed. Assistant general manager David Gottfried has replaced Wade on an interim basis.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.