FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has some news:
Rule 7.13 is the home plate obstruction/collision rule, and the reason for this tweak to it happened last week, when Russell Martin of the Pirates was called for obstruction when merely standing on home to receive a throw in a force out-at-the-plate situation:
Which, of course, is absurd, because how else is a dude supposed to get a force out other than by touching home plate?
Rosenthal says that while catchers can now get the force out without having to worry about being called for obstruction, runners attempting to score still can’t interfere with the fielder (i.e. bowl over the catcher) which also makes sense. Force plays are still reviewable to make sure they were correctly called, but they are not reviewable for purposes of determining whether the obstruction rule was properly applied.
This all makes sense, and is in keeping with MLB’s stated goal of tweaking on the fly in the wake of realities in application. So I guess that’s good. Still: I wish the whole obstruction rule applied to catchers blocking the plate with the ball as well as without the ball. But maybe that’s for the offseason.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.
Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.
The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.