Joyce blown call

The replay proposal was well-received? We sure about that?

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Yes, I know I’m beating this to death. Sorry. It’s what I do. You want more A-Rod stories? Didn’t think so.

Anyway, a companion to that “MLB wanting us to accept the challenge system on their word” thing is the “declaration of victory” thing. People talking about yesterday’s replay announcement as if it were overwhelmingly well received. Baseball does this a lot, actually. It says something and then asserts that everyone is on board and points at anyone saying otherwise with the “wow, that guy is crazy” look on their face.  As the guy often being pointed at as crazy, I’ve seen it happen a lot. I realize I look like this much of the time.

But here is what I’m talking about. The headline from USA Today:

source:

The people have spoken! Now here are quotes from two managers from the article. First Bob Melvin, who is portrayed as one of the people approving of the change:

“So, if someone’s watching it and is on top of it and has the use of replay very quickly, that certainly doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me,” says Melvin, who admits he used to be against replay.

See that assumption? “someone watching and on top of it.” Actually, Bob, this proposal does not have someone watching and on top of it. That’s on you. If you decide a play was made improperly it’s your burden to alert everyone. Then someone steps in for a review. That’s yesterday’s proposal.

Then Joe Maddon, who first offers some pithy quotes about technology being great and replay being part of that:

“I just don’t like the idea that the earlier part of the game is considered less important,” he says. “I know we’ve lost games in the first inning. You can lose games in the second inning. I don’t know if that’s something based on research that there are fewer umpire mistakes in the first part of the game than in the latter part of the game.”

But, he’ll take whatever version he can get.

If people want to call this a positive reaction that’s their right. But it seems to be actually negative with respect to the actual proposal.

Everyone wants the calls right. That’s not debatable. So when someone says “we just want the calls right” or even “replay is good,” that is not an endorsement of yesterdays’ announcement. The only specific comments I’ve seen thus far are either skeptical of a challenge system or skeptical of the one specifically proposed.

If there is to be a debate about the merits of this plan, let’s have the debate. Let’s not make sure everyone lines up behind MLB’s proposal and have some premature declaration of victory.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.