Yesterday Brandon Phillips took to Twitter to suggest that negotiations with the Reds over a long term deal were progressing. Reds GM Walt Jocketty — while hopeful himself — walked that back a bit last night:
When reached for comment, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty didn’t believe a deal was near. “I think it’s still a ways to go,” Jocketty said. “We’re still hopeful to get something done. We’re glad he feels that way … “I don’t think we’re that close [with Phillips], no”
We’ll hear when we hear, obviously. But I find this less interesting from the perspective of where Phillips’ deal with the Reds stands than it is in terms of social media dynamics. Brandon Phillips is a pretty savvy Twitter user. I wonder how much of his tweeting about a deal is designed to exert a bit of pressure on the front office. It resulted in Jocketty having to answer questions last night. Fans will certainly take greater notice of the negotiation now.
While it likely won’t happen here, I could foresee a situation one day where a player — if he handles it just so — could really exert some pressure on the front office by creating an impression that a deal is closer than it really is. Subtle suggestions, say, that ownership is cheap or something. Sure, players and their agents have done that sort of thing for years via proxies in the media, but direct contact with fans seems like it could be a different, more effective thing.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: