Buster Posey says he wasn’t exactly blocking the plate last year when Scott Cousins ran into him, breaking Posey’s ankle and ending his season. It kinda looked like he was poised to — and he was close enough to doing it to where it didn’t matter — but he says he wasn’t blocking the plate. OK.
But no matter what he was doing, the Giants have reiterated their desire to have Posey avoid coming even close. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com:
Bruce Bochy has forbidden Buster Posey from blocking the plate. The Giants’ manager confirmed it on Sunday, and much will be made of that decision. But here is one more vital scrap of information: Posey was under the same order the night that Florida’s Scott Cousins speared him like a tackling dummy.
Bochy and other Giants officials had sat down Posey for that “let’s be smart about this” conversation 10 months before the May 25 game in which he sustained three ripped ankle ligaments and a fractured bone in his leg.
So this year I guess it’s a “let’s be smarter about this” conversation. A “seriously, dude, swipe tags from four feet or else we’re taking away your mask” kind of talk. A “don’t get any closer to the runner than you did to actually being safe on that steal attempt in the 2010 NLDS but were called safe anyway” talk.
This will bug the old school purist types who love to see collisions at the plate, but if I were a manager I’d make it a standing order to all of my catchers, whether they were offensive assets like Posey or simply regular old catchers. One run is never worth a big injury to a catcher. Look around the league and see how few decent ones there are and you’ll know why. They’re valuable.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.