Here’s why Anthony Gose wasn’t out on that wide slide last night

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In the top of the sixth inning of last night’s Tigers-Nationals game Anthony Gose slid toward Danny Espinosa in an attempt to break up a double play. Espinosa’s throw to first was late and, as a result, a run scored. Gose never touched second base or even attempted to grab it with an outstretched arm.

The slide was reviewed and Gose was held not to have violated the rule, despite the fact that he didn’t, by any conceivable measure, make a “bona fide slide” as the rule requires. Why? Chris Iott of MLive spoke to an MLB official and this is what he was told:

“Even though the judgment was that runner failed to engage in a bona fide slide, the Replay Official must still find that the runner’s actions hindered and impeded the fielder’s ability to complete a double play. In the absence of the hindering/impeding element — which is a judgment call — the runner cannot be found to have violated 6.01 (j). The judgment on this one was that there was no hindering or impeding of the fielder.”

The “hindering/impeding” part is not in the new slide rule. It would appear that it’s an interpretive gloss placed on the rule by officials after the fact. Which is interesting because the whole point of the new rule seemed to be aimed at taking away any sort of subjective judgment and trying hard to make a “slide” an easily defined thing. Which was dumb, but that’s what it set out to do.

Here’s hoping judgment, rather than blind adherence to a rule and an effort to make that which requires some subjectivity into something purely objective, is allowed to come to to fore more often.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.