Baseball’s controversial plate-blocking rule strikes again

23 Comments

Opponents of baseball’s new plate-blocking rule, meant to protect catchers, got another round of ammo to add to their arsenal with what went on in Philadelphia this afternoon.

The Phillies and Diamondbacks were tied 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Howard had drawn a two-out walk to bring up Marlon Byrd. Byrd worked the count 3-2 before skying a fly ball into shallow right-center. Second baseman Didi Gregorius ranged out for it and appeared to have it, but the ball deflected off of his glove towards shallow center. Center fielder Ender Inciarte alertly picked up the ball and fired a seed to catcher Miguel Montero, who applied an easy tag to Ryan Howard for the third out.

Only one problem: Montero didn’t give Howard a lane to the plate. The umpires reviewed the play for more than three minutes, but ultimately reversed the out call, giving the Phillies the run although Howard never ended up touching the plate.

Let the debate begin anew.

Blue Jays acquire Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals

Jon Durr/Getty Images
3 Comments

The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.

Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.

Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.

Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.

Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.