Yesterday Buster Olney asked several anonymous executives what they would offer free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales if they had a need for them. There were extended quotes from the executives talking about their value in both dollar terms — anywhere from $5 million to $10 million depending on the circumstances — and on the factors that might go into it, including their injury history, their lack of a spring and things like that.
A little bit ago union director Tony Clark put out a statement decrying Olney’s story, saying it violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement and can harm the value of Drew and Morales. He went further, saying that Commissioner Selig should investigate and unearth the anonymous sources for Olney’s story and punish those who spoke to him for what he calls collusive activities.
Let’s unpack this:
1. Yes, that kind of talk likely does violate the CBA. It could easily constitute collusion, by having executives signal to one another what to pay Drew and Morales, thereby messing with their ability to market themselves to teams. In this regard, Clark has a legitimate beef; but
2. There is little or no way Selig, even if he is inclined to agree with Clark, would be able to figure out who said this stuff to Olney. Neither Olney nor ESPN are going to tell him, that’s for damn sure, because journalism doesn’t work that way. What does he expect? Selig to sue ESPN as a means of pressuring them to cooperate with Major League Baseball, thereby causing them to spill the beans— oh, wait. That is already in MLB’s tool kit, so maybe he could expect that. I dunno.
But I do know one thing: Drew and Morales’ value has been harmed far more by the draft pick compensation/qualifying offer system that the MLBPA agreed to a couple of years ago than any potentially collusive stuff appearing in Olney’s little story. If Clark wants to prevent that from happening to players in the future, he had either best strongly advise players to accept qualifying offers or else find a way to reopen negotiations on free agent compensation.
The Red Sox plated five runs in the top of the eighth inning to put Game 3 of the ALCS out of the reach, taking an 8-2 victory over the Astros on Tuesday night in Houston. Four of those eighth-inning runs came on a grand slam to right field by Jackie Bradley, Jr. off of reliever Roberto Osuna, turning their two-run deficit into a back-breaking six-run deficit.
Both teams traded blows in the first inning, with the Red Sox plating two runs on a J.D. Martinez double and a Xander Bogaerts ground out against starter Dallas Keuchel. The Astros got a run back in the bottom half against starter Nathan Eovaldi when Marwin González brought home Jose Altuvé with a single.
Keuchel settled down from there. He ultimately gave up the two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and no strikeouts across five innings. Eovaldi wouldn’t give up another run until the fifth, when Alex Bregman doubled home Altuve. Eovaldi yielded the two runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
Steve Pearce, added to the lineup because of the left-handed Keuchel, smashed a solo home run down the left field line in the sixth against right-handed reliever Joe Smith, breaking the 2-2 tie. Two innings later, all hell broke loose against Osuna. Osuna got Martinez to fly out for the first out, allowed a single to Bogaerts, then got the second out when Pearce gorunded out to third base. Rafael Devers kept the inning alive with a single. Osuna loaded the bases by hitting Brock Holt with an 89 MPH slider, then forced in a run when he hit Mitch Moreland with a 96 MPH fastball. Bradley came up and worked a 1-1 count before depositing a 94 MPH fastball into the right field seats to drastically create space between the Red Sox and Astros.
In the bottom of the eighth, with a healthy five-run cushion, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly combined to keep the Astros off the board. Eduardo Rodríguez got the ball to start the ninth with a pair of lefties slated to bat. Tyler White pinch-hit for Brian McCann but struck out. Evan Gattis then pinch-hit for Tony Kemp and grounded out. Rodríguez cleaned out the inning by striking out George Springer, ending the game in an 8-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will take their 2-1 series lead into Houston on Wednesday night. Rick Porcello will oppose Charlie Morton for an 8:39 PM ET start. A Red Sox win tomorrow would bring them one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2013 and it would leave the defending champion Astros one loss away from elimination.