Brandon Belt, A.J. Pollock

Replay system’s flaws rear head in Giants-Diamondbacks game

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MLB chose not to institute a replay system whose sole goal was getting calls right, instead opting for a system that involved managerial challenges and strategy, at least until the seventh inning of games. In Tuesday’s Giants-Diamondbacks game, won by Arizona 5-4, we saw exactly what’s going to come of such a system.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy chose to challenge this call in the fourth inning. A.J. Pollock appeared to be picked off first base, but he was called safe on the slide.

The replay was deemed inconclusive, so the umpires will get to add this one to the “we were right all along” tally. Bochy lost his right to challenge, which proved big when, just a couple of pitches afterwards, Pollock scored from third on a passed ball. Cain appeared to get the tag on him on the play at the plate (sorry, no video for that one yet), but the Giants couldn’t challenge and the umpires have no ability to go to the replay themselves until the seventh.

Best to remember things like this when the inevitable stats about how often the umpires were correct on replay challenges come out. In truth, they were probably 0-for-2 here, but it will go into the books as a 1-for-1.

 

Blue Jays sign Brett Oberholtzer to a minor league deal

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer #38 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Safeco Field on September 2, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty Brett Oberholtzer. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that it’s a minor league pact and it includes an invitation to spring training, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.

Oberholtzer, 27, began the season with the Phillies after the club acquired him in the Ken Giles trade last offseason. He struggled to a 4.83 ERA and a 38/20 K/BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings. The Angels claimed him off waivers in August and he put up an 8.55 ERA over 20 innings in the new uniform.

Given Oberholtzer’s experience as a starter, he can provide depth for the Blue Jays whether that means starting the season at Triple-A or operating as a swingman. He’ll be under team control through the 2020 season.

Doesn’t anyone want to sign Edwin Encarnacion?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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OXON HILL, MD — Edwin Encarnacion began the offseason as, arguably, the second most desirable free agent on the market. As the Winter Meetings approach their end, however, he is a man without a team. And may not have a team any time soon.

Many teams have been rumored to be checking in on Encarnacion, but the defining trait of his free agency thus far has been clubs taking a pass. The most recent one being the Rangers, who are reported to simply not have the money to sign him, despite him filling a clear offensive need in Texas. Maybe the Rangers would be more competitive on the free agent market if they had a new stadium. Who knows?

The Blue Jays, for whom he most recently played, offered him a four-year, $80 million deal that most figured was a lowball, and when he rejected it, they moved on to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox acquired Mitch Moreland. The Yankees are reported to be passing. The most recent team linked to Encarnacion is the Indians, who are reported to have an offer out to him, but at this point it’s likely far lower than what most free agent watchers thought he might get a few weeks ago. A four-year, $90 million deal did not seem crazy for him in October. In December, there is speculation that he could be had for $60 million over that same term which, frankly, would be a bargain. That’s less than Mark Melancon, the third best closer on the market, got from the Giants.

There have been a lot of remarkable things that have happened in the past few weeks, but one of the most unexpected things would be one of the top bats in the game getting second-tier closer money.