Bet you Eric Campbell didn’t see this in the minor leagues. In the top of the eighth inning of a 4-4 ballgame, the Phillies bullpen did what they do best and put two runners in scoring position with one out for 27-year-old rookie Eric Campbell, making his major league debut. With first base open, Carlos Ruiz stood towards the left-handed batter’s box and took the first of four pitches from reliever Mike Adams for the intentional walk, ostensibly to set up a potential inning-ending double play.
Then, for some reason, the Phillies changed their minds. Ruiz got back into his normal crouch behind the plate and Adams pitched to Campbell normally and ultimately struck him out looking.
Don’t believe me? The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb tweeted it:
Apparently Chase Utley had something to do with it:
The drama continued as Adams unintentionally walked Wilmer Flores to bring up former two-time Phillie Bobby Abreu. But Abreu grounded weakly back to Adams for the inning-ending put out at first base, leaving the game tied at 4-4 going into the top of the ninth inning.
Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.
Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.
He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.