Reds GM downplays Brandon Phillips rumors … sort of

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Amid reports that the Reds are planning to trade Brandon Phillips this offseason general manager Walt Jocketty was asked about the situation yesterday and insisted: “I’m not talking to any clubs about him.”

Jocketty told reporters assembled for the Bryan Price introductory press conference that he recently texted Phillips to assure him “I have not spoken to anybody about that.”

Of course, when asked if he’d guarantee Phillips will still be in Cincinnati come Opening Day the GM replied:

I’m not saying that. We’ve got some things we’ve got to look at on how we’re going to improve our club. I’m not going to say nobody is untouchable. Obviously, we want to keep as much of this club intact as we can.

So read into all of that whatever you will. My take is that the Reds are clearly willing to field offers on Phillips and assuming there are teams that view the 32-year-old second baseman as worth the $50 million remaining on his contract a trade seems pretty likely.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.