Matthew Pouliot

Jake Peavy

Report: Jake Peavy, Will Middlebrooks swap being discussed

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MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports that Will Middlebrooks’ name has come up in trade talks between the White Sox and Red Sox regarding Jake Peavy.

The Red Sox, on the hunt for a starting pitcher with Clay Buchholz out, scouted Peavy’s last start against the Braves and will take another look at him Thursday, when he matches up against the Tigers and Justin Verlander.

A deal sending Middlebrooks to Chicago would be ironic, since it was Middlebrooks’ emergence that played in a role in the Red Sox practically giving away Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox last summer. If the Red Sox were to part with Middlebrooks now, they’d seemingly be setting themselves up to go forward with a Xander Bogaerts-Jose Iglesias left side of the infield in future years, though Bogaerts probably won’t be up for the start of 2014.

Peavy would be a risky acquisition for Boston. He’s made 30 starts just once since 2007, and he’ll fall short again this year after missing time in the first half with a fractured rib. When healthy, he’s gone 7-4 with a 4.19 ERA and a 69/15 K/BB ratio in 73 innings for the White Sox. And while it’s so long ago that it probably doesn’t matter now, Peavy was a disaster in his only two postseason starts, going 0-2 with a 12.10 ERA for the Padres in consecutive NLDSs with the Padres in 2005 and ’06.

As for his contract situation, Peavy is making $14.5 million both this year and next. He also has a $15 million player option for 2015, but that only kicks in if he throws 400 innings these two years and that probably isn’t happening.

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12:02 a.m. EDT update: WEEI’s Alex Speier is already refuting this one. His source says there’s been no mention of Middlebrooks in trade talks.

Matt Garza beats Yankees in Rangers debut

Matt Garza
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Matt Garza’s first start for the Rangers couldn’t have gone much better, as he allowed just an unearned run over 7 1/3 innings to pick up a victory in a 3-1 game against the Yankees on Wednesday.

Garza struck out five and walked none to outshine Andy Pettitte in Pettitte’s best start in six weeks. The left-hander gave up just two runs in six innings. It was the first time since a June 8 victory over the Mariners that Pettitte surrendered fewer than four runs.

Garza has won each of his last six starts dating back to June 21, not giving up more than two runs in any of them. The lone run tonight came after his own error in the sixth. Brett Gardner hit a comebacker that Garza struggled to grab and then threw away. It was ruled an infield single and a two-base throwing error that allowed Gardner to reach third.

Isn’t this why we have an infield-fly rule?

Ernesto Frieri
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With the Twins down 1-0 to the Angels, runners on first and second and none out in the ninth today, Justin Morneau hit a little popup to the right of the mound. Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, employing some quick thinking, let the ball drop and turned it into a 1-3-6-3 double play. He followed that up with a walk before striking out Chris Herrmann to end the game.

Which is all well and good for the Angels. But why do we have an infield-fly rule if not for this exact situation?

Here’s a link to the video.

Obviously, the umpire’s argument here would be that the ball wasn’t up in the air for long and that Frieri wasn’t camped under it. Which is true. It also doesn’t matter:

An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.

All the infield fly rule needs to be brought into effect is for a fielder to be able to catch the ball with ordinary effort. That certainly applies here. Frieri had the ball in his sights the whole way and made the decision to let it drop.

The whole spirit of the infield fly rule is to prevent exactly what happened in the ninth inning today. Ted Barrett’s crew blew it by not making the call and possibly cost the Twins the game.