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Replay umps blow key call in Astros-Red Sox game

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You’d think that if you take nearly four minutes to watch a play, over and over again, that you stand a decent chance of getting it right, but that was not the case for the replay officials covering the Astros-Red Sox game last night.

Houston was down early but came back to tie things up with a four-run rally in the fifth inning. Jump forward to the seventh. With the game still tied at five Jose Altuve bunted his way on, made it to second base on an error and made it to third on a passed ball. With one out, Yuli Gurriel grounded to short and Altuve broke home. Xander Bogaerts threw home, the throw was high, Sandy Leon did the reach-grab-swipe tag thing and . . .

The call on the field was “out.” A.J. Hinch challenged and it took three minutes and 50 seconds for the review to be completed.  The call stood, with replay officials saying it was inconclusive if the tag was applied before he touched the plate with his left hand. Which is odd given that it took me a matter of seconds, on my first look at the above video, to see that he was safe. I screencapped it:

 

A.J. Hinch after the game:

“He did get in there. It’s clear as day. I’m tired of these questions because replay’s set up for precisely that type of play, and we feel like we have clear evidence.”

Astros outfielder Josh Reddick certainly thought so:

As you likely know by now, the game remained tied until the ninth when the Red Sox won it on a walkoff RBI single from Mitch Moreland, reducing the Astros’ lead over the Athletics to two and a half games in the AL West.

Bad calls happen — it’s not an offense against God and Nature for the on-field ump to get that wrong given how fast it played out — but replay is supposed to fix them. That no one could see that Altuve was in ahead of that tag in nearly four minutes when anyone with an internet connection and access to MLB.com could see it in, like, 20 seconds, is a problem.

 

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.