Corey Kluber is miffed he didn’t get to throw warmup pitches during a replay review

8 Comments

Here’s an odd area of the new replay rules most of us hadn’t thought about: if and when the pitcher on the mound during the replay gets to throw warmup pitches following a replay review.

Most of the time the TV cameras aren’t focused on the pitcher during a review. They’re focused on the umps in headsets and the showing of replays of the play being reviewed. But apparently, some pitchers use that time to keep warm, as they don’t know how long the review may last. Some, however, wait it out and then throw a couple pitches after the review is over and before play resumes.

That’s what Indians starter Corey Kluber usually does, anyway. But last night he was denied. He didn’t much care for that. From Jordan Bastian at MLB.com:

The pitcher has been on the mound for a handful of replay reviews, including one that lasted a few minutes in the eighth inning of his Aug. 15 start against the Orioles. Given the unpredictability of the length of any given review, the pitcher has developed a routine in which he warms up after the conclusion of the delay . . . When Wednesday’s review wrapped up after a quick 48-second conference with the Replay Operations Center in New York, Kluber asked to throw a few warmup pitches. [umpire Rob] Drake informed the pitcher that he should have done that during the review. Kluber then checked with [Crew Chief Joe] West, but the pitcher was instructed to take the mound in order to resume the game.

Kluber didn’t much care for having to guess when he should throw. He said, in this case anyway, it didn’t much matter, but that not having a set rule about when pitchers can take warmup pitches is a problem to be addressed.

I don’t assume that a 48-second review like this one will create precedent, but at some point an extended review may cause a problem that MLB would do well to address.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
27 Comments

In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.