In Sunday’s series finale in Atlanta, Braves center fielder B.J. Upton drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth inning against Reds starter Johnny Cueto. After striking out Freddie Freeman, Cueto tried to pick off Upton at first base before throwing his first pitch to Justin Upton. It was a close play, but first base umpire Greg Gibson ruled Upton safe. Reds manager Bryan Price jogged out of the dugout and conversed with Gibson before asking for a review.
Slow-motion replays clearly showed first baseman Joey Votto’s glove on top of Upton’s hand before getting back to the first base bag. But after reviewing the play for several minutes, the umpires upheld their ruling that Upton was safe. Price came back out of the dugout. He was warned that if he continued to pursue the matter, that he would be ejected. Price continued walking back out onto the field and was promptly thrown out.
Price wasn’t angry, didn’t raise his voice or show up the umpires. One simply isn’t allowed to continue arguing once a decision has been made after replay review, and that’s why Price was ejected.
You can watch how everything transpired here:
This incident showed the imperfections of Major League Baseball’s implementation of replay review. First, the umpires had the necessary technology and still got the call wrong. Second, their incorrect ruling left the Reds without any challenges for the rest of the game. If it’s the sixth inning, it’s not a huge deal, but this was the first inning — plenty of time for the umpires to make another questionable call. Third, Price was ejected for correctly wanting to hear exactly why the umpires ruled Upton safe. Had Price been belligerent, his ejection would have been justified, but I’m sure he was as curious as the rest of us watching at home.
Thankfully for the Reds, Upton didn’t come around to score. The game remained in a scoreless tie until Freddie Freeman delivered a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.
Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.
The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.
Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.
As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.
Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.
If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.
Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.
But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.
Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.
There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.
Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.
Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.
We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.
Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.
The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.
Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.