Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon said last month that he would be interested in a trade to the Blue Jays and it appears that the possibility might still have some legs. Check out this report from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
Maybe Alex Anthopoulos, general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, popped into Bright House Field on Friday afternoon because he enjoys those Delco’s cheesesteaks that they sell behind home plate.
Or maybe he was there to see Jonathan Papelbon.
Whatever the case, it was quite interesting to see Anthopoulos seated in the scouts’ section watching the Phillies play the New York Yankees while his own team was hosting the Detroit Tigers just a few miles away in Dunedin.
Rain began falling in the third inning and Anthopoulos soon vanished. But he was there long enough to see Papelbon have another good spring outing.
According to Salisbury, Papelbon smiled when he heard Anthopoulos was in attendance and said, “Huh, interesting.”
As of now, the Blue Jays are set to go into the season with Brett Cecil as their closer, but they could obviously revisit the situation at some point. Anthopoulos was likely just doing some due diligence on that end.
Papelbon has the ability to block trades to 17 teams, including the Blue Jays. The 34-year-old could demand for his $13 million vesting option for 2016 to be picked up in order to sign off on a deal.
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.