Phillies decide to intentionally walk Eric Campbell, then change their minds mid at-bat

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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.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
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The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.

Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.

Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.