Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com reports that Stephen Drew, sidelined since the end of the World Series after no one bit on him in the free agency market due to the compensation pick attached to him, has a job at long last. He’s back where he was last year: on a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. And, since he is going back to Boston, obviously no compensation pick attaches.
Heyman says the deal is for a pro-rated version of the $14 million he would’ve received from the Sox if he had accepted the qualifying offer they made him last fall. Or, roughly, $10 million. Of course the reason Drew didn’t accept the offer is that he and his agent Scott Boras assumed they could do better than that on the market. That decision cost Drew $4 million and a good chunk of 2014.
But now he has a home. One which needs him, frankly, due to the ineffectiveness of and then the injury to third baseman Will Middlebrooks. One suspects that Drew will move into the shortstop position he occupied last year and Xander Bogaerts will move back to third, though Drew can handle third as well if Boston decides that it wants Bogaerts to be their shortstop now and forever.
That leaves Kendrys Morales as the last of the players put in limbo due to receiving qualifying offers last year.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.