The Blue Jays were linked to Francisco Rodriguez when he was a free agent over the winter and now Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the team has been in contact with the Brewers about a potential trade.
After posting a 3.04 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio in 69 appearances with Milwaukee last season, the 33-year-old Rodriguez has a 1.13 ERA with 26 strikeouts and seven walks over 24 innings so far this year. He’s a perfect 13-for-13 in save chances. The Brewers figure to be one of only a handful of sellers in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so Rodriguez would appear to be an obvious candidate to be moved. Brett Cecil is functioning as Toronto’s closer right now, but he has only had seven save chances all season and owns a 4.50 ERA over 25 appearances. An upgrade makes sense.
Rodriguez is under contract for $5.5 million this season and his contract includes a $6 million option or $4 million buyout for 2016.
With Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list due to a lat injury, Elliott hears that the Blue Jays are also in the market for a starting pitcher.
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.