You’ll be hearing about this for a while, and may even see an amendment in MLB’s official rules as a result. Chase Utley pinch-hit for Zack Greinke with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and singled, putting runners at the corners. The next batter, Howie Kendrick, hit a chopper up the middle that was snagged by second baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy flipped to Tejada, who spun around to attempt to complete the 4-6-3 double play.
Utley, however, had other designs. He slid very late — around the time he was parallel to the bag — directly into Tejada, causing him to be unable to make a throw. Enrique Hernandez scored on the play. Utley, ruled out, walked off the field and Tejada was eventually carted off due to a fractured fibula. However, the umpires reviewed the play — based on a force out, not the neighborhood play — and deemed that Tejada never touched the bag, so Utley was called safe.
Under that interpretation of the rules, the umpire got the call correct. However, they could have called Utley out on interference under Rule 6.01 (6) which would have also deemed batter-runner Kendrick out, ending the inning with the Mets still leading 2-1.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.