Benches empty after Shin-Soo Choo gets buzzed by Blue Jays

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Already hit in the back by a pitch earlier in the game, Shin-Soo Choo took exception Thursday when he was buzzed by Luis Perez in the 15th inning in the game between the Indians and the Blue Jays.

Warnings were issued earlier in the game after Justin Masterson came inside on Kelly Johnson in possible retaliation for Choo’s plunking by Ricky Romero, but those incidents were back in the fourth and third innings, respectively. Perez definitely missed on the pitch to Choo, throwing it head-high and inside, but it seems doubtful he meant to go there 11 innings later.

After the pitch, Choo took several steps toward the mound and the benches and bullpens emptied. Order was quickly restored, though. The umpires met afterwards to discuss whether to toss Perez, and it was decided that he could remain in the game. Suspensions seem unlikely.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.