Blue Jays All-Star catcher John Buck is drawing a lot of interest, reports Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, with the Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, and Phillies all scouting last night’s Royals-Jays game. Of course, take any reports based on scouting with a grain of salt, especially when teams who are perfectly set at catcher like the Twins are mentioned.
For those who do need a catcher, Buck is a fairly attractive option. He has some punch, leading regular AL catchers not named Carlos Santana in slugging percentage this year. He’s also owed less than a million bucks for the remainder of the season and will be a free agent come winter, so there’s no expensive, long term commitments involved. Perfect one night stand material, if you wish to put it in that creepy, creepy way.
The Tigers make sense in that they could use a catcher and a bat. Elliott also mentions the Red Sox and Reds, both of which make some amount of sense (though the Sox will be getting decent catchers back soon enough.
All of this still has me wondering why the Royals chose to pay Jason Kendall three times as much money as Buck ended up getting rather than just sticking with Buck after last season. In terms of both production and trade value, Buck is about a gajillion times better.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.