Great Moments in Instant Replay: Yunel Escobar strikes out on a 4-2 count

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With the disclaimer that I like instant replay and that I think its results so far are a net positive even if it’s hard to get used to the often clunky implementation, it did not experience its finest hour in last night’s Rays-Twins game.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Yunel Escobar came to the plate. At one point he checked his swing and the ball bounced off the catcher’s mitt. At first glance it appeared to be a foul ball — that’s what the scoreboard operator registered anyway — but it was a ball. A few seconds later¬†Escobar took his fourth ball, and then confusion reigned. Watch it all unfold here.

Both dugouts and Escobar thought it was ball four. The home plate umpire wasn’t sure — this is not terribly uncommon, actually, and sometimes they double check their little handheld clickers with the scoreboard — so they went to instant replay to review. But even instant replay got the call wrong and the count was officially set to 3-2, even though Escobar should have already been on first base. On the 4-2 pitch, Escobar struck out.

Major League Baseball agreed, issuing a statement after the game:

”An error was made when replay officials and supervisors mistakenly thought one of the pitches was a foul ball when it was actually a ball,” MLB said in a statement.

It ended up not mattering in the game, but it’s not a defining moment for instant replay, that’s for sure.

The Marlins made another trade for international bonus pool money

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The Miami Marlins’ primary offseason goal thus far appears to be acquiring as much international bonus pool money as possible. Last week they traded their closer to the Nationals to get some. This morning they traded a couple of low-level prospects to the Astros to get more.¬†Specifically, they traded lefty reliever Brayan de Paula and outfielder Adonis Giron to Houston for an unknown amount of slot money.

De Paula, 19, has pitched in the Dominican Summer League for the past two seasons while posting a 3.05 ERA and 57/16 K/BB ratio over 59 innings. Giron, 17, has one season of Dominican Summer League experience under his belt, where he hit .255/.331/.362 with three homers in 67 games.

The Marlins have made no secret of the fact that they’re after top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa and, possibly, his younger brother, Victor Mesa, Jr., which would explain the stockpiling of bonus money.