It was fun as anything to watch, and because the Orioles won the game it ended up not mattering, but we can all agree that Ichiro should have been called out on that crazy Matrix/parkour play from the first inning last night, right?
In case you were under a rock last night:
Rule 7.08 of the official rules of Major League Baseball states:
Any runner is out when—
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged
unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A
runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight
line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely . . .
At the outset, note that it does not say THE base path. It says HIS base path. This doesn’t change the analysis because he was still way beyond that, but it is worth noting that the white line between home and third is not relevant here. A batter’s base path has to do with the angle he’s taking toward home. Like, say, if he had rounded third big and was heading straight home on an angle from the grass just foul of the line. The idea is that he can’t deviate more than three feet from that line — the line on which he is running — not the chalk line.
But really, it doesn’t matter. Because by the time Ichiro started his juking and jiving, he was in the back of the catcher’s box behind the plate. Which is EIGHT FEET from the plate. There are fat cat fans with seats closer to the plate than Ichiro was last night.
Why wasn’t he called out? Probably because no one is ever called out on those sorts of plays. Same reason why catchers are never called for interference when they block the plate even if they don’t have the ball yet despite the rules saying they can’t do that. It’s just never been done. Ask Greg Maddux, who was an expert at getting calls far away from the plate even when he wasn’t pitching.
Again, no biggie because it ended up not mattering, but it certainly seems that Ichiro shoulda been called out.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.
LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.
Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.