We talked about this in the recaps this morning, but let’s talk some more.
In last night’s Reds-Indians game, the Indians were starting a little rally in the seventh on an RBI double by Yan Gomes that sent baserunner David Murphy toward third. Murphy tried to score when he saw the ball rolling on the field but it turned out it was merely a ball, not the ball. Specifically a ball that had gotten loose from the Reds bullpen, fooling Murphy into thinking it was the ball in play. Meanwhile, the ball in play was relayed to third where Murphy was tagged out.
Here’s how it went down:
Can someone tell me why either (a) the third base coach didn’t see the loose ball and/or distinguish it from the live ball; or (b) the umpires didn’t call it a dead ball?
It probably didn’t matter — the Reds had a big lead — but it certainly was bizarre.
The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.
The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.
Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.