MLB wasn’t going to leave the Nationals’ twisting in the wind while debating the Braves’ protest of Friday’s loss to the Cardinals. The league denied the protest within 20 minutes of the game ending.
The decision is hardly surprising, and while the Braves will always feel ripped off by Sam Holbrook’s infield-fly call, their protest didn’t hold a lot of water. Holbrook made a judgment call. It was bad judgment, but that can’t be protested. The Braves’ best argument was that the infield fly call is supposed to come “immediately” after its apparent. And it’s a legitimate argument, but it wasn’t going to get the end of the game replayed.
If you want to see it again, here’s the video of the play:
With the protest denied, the Nationals are now free to travel to St. Louis to begin the NLDS on Sunday.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.