Alex Gordon would have been a dead duck had he tried to score

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When Alex Gordon’s drive to left-center with two outs in the ninth was misplayed twice, it certainly seemed as if the potential was there for a game-tying inside-the-park home run off Madison Bumgarner. But it simply wasn’t meant to be.

Gordon got the stop sign to stay at third, and it was for the best. Here’s the video:

The most telling screencap is this one:

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Juan Perez has the ball at that point and is ready to uncork his throw. Gordon is still just shy of halfway between second and third.

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Brandon Crawford now has the ball in shallow left. Gordon only found out he had the stop sign a second before this, so it’s not like he would have had picked up more than another step had had been busting it.

Of course, Crawford could have made a poor throw home. But he wasn’t rushed, and he has an excellent arm. With any sort of decent throw, it’s not even a close play at home. You could still argue that forcing the Giants to make the relay still might have been a higher-percentage play than counting on Salvador Perez to extend the game, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. But it was a low-percentage play either way.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).