Category: MLB

Josh Donaldson Expresses Willingness for a Reunion with the Blue Jays Ive Always Felt Like It Was Home

Josh Donaldson Expresses Willingness for a Reunion with the Blue Jays Ive Always Felt Like It Was Home

As Josh Donaldson approaches the twilight of his MLB career, he is open to concluding his playing days with the team where he experienced his greatest individual success: the Toronto Blue Jays.

Currently a free agent, Donaldson’s potential return aligns with the Blue Jays’ need for a third baseman following Matt Chapman’s rejection of the qualifying offer. In an interview with theScore’s Josh Wegman, Donaldson expressed his interest in rejoining Toronto if approached by general manager Ross Atkins this winter.

“Yeah, definitely looking forward to seeing if they reach out,” Donaldson stated. “That would definitely be something that I would be interested in doing. That’s just where I’ve always felt like it was home for me.

“My fiancée, she’s from Toronto. Our kids are half-Canadian. Her family is all up there, which would be great for them to be able to be around all year long. For me, that would be the tip of the iceberg, which would be great, and we’ll see what happens.

Credit By:

During his three full seasons with the Blue Jays, Donaldson emerged as one of the most dominant hitters in baseball. His outstanding performance earned him the American League MVP title in 2015, boasting a .297/.371/.568 slash line. The following season proved almost equally impressive with a .284/.404/.549 performance. However, a trade to Cleveland occurred during the injury-riddled 2018 campaign.

In recent seasons, Donaldson’s production has experienced a significant decline. The past year saw him hit .152 with a .667 OPS in 50 games, divided between the New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers.

As the 2024 MLB campaign approaches, Donaldson will be 38, raising questions about his fit on a Blue Jays team currently in its competitive prime. While he could potentially contribute as a power bat off the bench, an expanded role seems unlikely given his age and recent performance trends.

Whether or not Donaldson returns to the Blue Jays, he cherishes fond memories of his time in Toronto but laments the missed opportunity to win a championship with the exceptional talent those teams possessed.

Reflecting on the ’15 and ’16 teams, Donaldson shared, “Now that time has passed since the ’15 and ’16 teams I think some of the best compliments that I get from former opponents was ‘dude, we had nowhere to go in that lineup. It was hell either trying to call a game against you guys or pitch against you guys. There was just no avenue where we could wiggle around.” He emphasized the uniqueness and strength of the team during those years.

Despite acknowledging the team’s special nature, Donaldson expressed a lingering sense of frustration, stating, “Not saying that we took anything for granted because we didn’t, we went and laid it on the line. But man, if we could’ve caught this break, or made this happen, it definitely sticks in your craw a little bit. We definitely felt we had the team to win it; we just weren’t able to accomplish that.”

Looking ahead to the possibility of joining a team for the 2024 season, Donaldson revealed that it would mark his final opportunity to pursue the elusive World Series title. “I think after this upcoming season, that would be my last season no matter what. I would like to play one more year and go out on a good note, and then that’d be it.


Identifying the Team with the Most Compelling Case for the Most Exciting MLB Free Agent Ever

Identifying the Team with the Most Compelling Case for the Most Exciting MLB Free Agent Ever

Shohei Ohtani is in search of a new team that perfectly aligns with his exceptional talents. Widely regarded as one of the most coveted figures in baseball, Ohtani initially left Japan to join the Los Angeles Angels in a highly competitive process that involved teams across the league. Now, after six seasons in the majors and achieving remarkable success as a two-way star in the last three, Ohtani is on the hunt for a team that can offer him a shot at postseason glory.

With accolades like the Rookie of the Year and an MVP award, and another MVP likely on the horizon, Ohtani is poised to secure the largest contract in MLB history. Despite an elbow surgery sidelining his pitching until 2025, his market value remains sky-high. However, the market for his services is more exclusive this time around, as only a select number of teams have the financial capacity and willingness to meet the substantial costs associated with signing Ohtani.

In my assessment, there are 14 teams with the potential to enter this high-stakes bidding, but only 10 with a genuine interest in securing Ohtani’s services at the required financial commitment. These teams are not necessarily the ones with the highest payrolls from the previous season, but they are close.

Given Ohtani’s limited public indications about his current preferences, speculation on what might influence his decision beyond monetary considerations is challenging. However, we can attempt to reverse engineer the equation by identifying which teams have the most incentive to meet Ohtani’s needs and desires. Which teams, by chance or design, have a void that aligns with Ohtani’s unique skill set? In essence, which teams can offer Ohtani the ideal fit for the next decade?

To evaluate this fit, we need to consider three key dimensions

Credit By:

How well does he fit into the lineup? Given Ohtani’s status as the best hitter in baseball in 2023, most lineups can accommodate him. However, some teams may have a more immediate opening at designated hitter, where Ohtani is expected to play in 2024 to protect his elbow and beyond for his two-way performance.

How well does he fit into the pitching staff? With Ohtani unable to pitch in 2024, teams need to assess who can perform at a high level without relying on a high-priced pitching acquisition. Additionally, which teams have the depth and strategic approach to support Ohtani’s return to the mound with a well-planned rotation in 2025?

How well does he fit into the franchise? This dimension considers a mix of payroll, culture, ownership functionality, geography, competitive timelines, and overall stability. Payroll history and financial strength have already narrowed down the list of potential suitors.

Now, let’s analyze the top contenders for Ohtani’s services.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Lineup Fit: The Dodgers boast a wide-open DH slot with J.D. Martinez entering free agency, offering multiple versatile players capable of moving defensively. Placing Ohtani between or after the dynamic duo of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman would give the Dodgers three of the top six hitters in baseball from 2023.

Pitching Fit: The perennial contenders could use Ohtani in 2024, yet with a solid farm system and financial flexibility, they can afford patience. Despite a rotation with relatively unproven starters, the Dodgers have consistently succeeded. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts have the track record to instill confidence in Ohtani.

Franchise Fit: Despite postseason setbacks, the Dodgers’ reliability in reaching the playoffs over the past decade is appealing. Their impressive regular-season record and organizational strength, coupled with a manageable payroll, make them a clear favorite. Ohtani’s familiarity with the Los Angeles area adds to their strong candidacy.

2. Texas Rangers

Lineup Fit: The defending World Series champions have almost their entire triumphant lineup returning, except for Mitch Garver, the usual DH.

Pitching Fit: Ohtani would join Jacob deGrom on the sidelines from the mound for at least the early part of 2024. The Rangers pursued a strategy of adding more arms to their rotation in 2023, making Ohtani a potential leading edge for the next wave. Key pitchers like Max Scherzer and Andrew Heaney will be free agents after 2024, creating an opportunity.

Franchise Fit: The appeal is evident after their recent World Series win, with key players like Corey Seager and Marcus Semien locked in through at least 2028. Ownership’s willingness to spend and a motivated, large-market team make the Rangers a strong contender. The question is whether they commit to paying the luxury tax, a potential hurdle.

3. Chicago Cubs

Lineup Fit: The Cubs, in need of power, would benefit from Ohtani in a lineup focused on patience and contact. A ripple effect might involve Christopher Morel, a powerful but whiff-happy young hitter, either moving to another team or a position with defensive concerns.

Pitching Fit: With Justin Steele emerging as an ace and more young arms on the rise, there’s promise in the Cubs’ pitching plans. The hiring of Craig Counsell, adept at managing young pitchers, adds to their appeal. A holding pattern in 2024 could lead to growth around Ohtani in 2025.

Franchise Fit: Having missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, the Cubs need to convince Ohtani of their readiness to win. Hiring Counsell and potential moves by the front office, including discussions with impactful players, signal their go-for-it mentality. Classic franchise status and a favorable place in Ohtani’s history make them a team to watch.

4. San Francisco Giants

Lineup Fit: The Giants currently lack impactful hitters, presenting an opportunity for Ohtani to enhance their lineup. Their pitching staff’s recent success with developing pitchers adds to the appeal.

Pitching Fit: San Francisco has been a great home for pitchers, aiding the development of Logan Webb and other stars. Their notable usage creativity and flexibility in tailoring roster plans make them a good fit for Ohtani’s unique skills.

Franchise Fit: After years of building competitive but marginally successful teams, the Giants aim to become not only a better baseball team but a more exciting one. Their current payroll situation, while lacking proven hitters, positions them as a motivated, large-market team with financial flexibility. Ohtani could be the catalyst for a transformative move.

The Tailor Is In: Questionable Fits with Potential

5. Atlanta Braves

Lineup Fit: The Braves, boasting the best lineup in baseball, have stars locked in for several years. A hole in left field and Marcell Ozuna penciled in at DH offer room for Ohtani, potentially upgrading an already historic lineup.

Pitching Fit: While the Braves need pitching help in 2024, Ohtani could be a preemptive replacement for potential departures after 2024. The prospect of Max Fried leaving creates an opening for Ohtani.

Franchise Fit: Although not frequently cited as a frontrunner, the Braves have reportedly intrigued Ohtani. With recent success, a bright outlook, and cost certainty, the Braves offer a strong case. While multiple luxury tax commitments are needed, their ability to afford it makes them a dark horse.

6. New York Yankees

Lineup Fit: Giancarlo Stanton presents a sizable obstacle, but GM Brian Cashman expects the DH slot to be open due to Stanton’s frequent injuries. When healthy, the Yankees may need to play Stanton in the field or explore a trade if Ohtani joins.

Pitching Fit: Criticized for underestimating Jordan Montgomery’s potential, the Yankees possess a strong pitching development organization. A rebound from Carlos Rodón and continued growth from other pitchers create an attractive landing spot for Ohtani.

Franchise Fit: The Yankees, needing a win after a disappointing season, face resistance to significant changes. Ohtani could reshape the narrative, but it involves placing a significant bet on the team’s foundation supporting both Ohtani and Aaron Judge without a weakened roster.

Seams Showing: Doable Fits but Difficult

7. Boston Red Sox

Lineup Fit: A bit dicey due to Masataka Yoshida’s promising bat but questionable defense. If his best position is DH, adding Ohtani creates a multi-year

8. Toronto Blue Jays

Lineup Fit: Adding Ohtani would entail moving Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to first base, a defensive compromise that the Blue Jays would likely accept gladly. Ohtani’s presence could elevate a lineup that has consistently underperformed, providing the boost needed to unlock its full potential.

Pitching Fit: Unlike many teams, the Blue Jays don’t have an urgent need for Ohtani’s services in 2024. The presence of reliable veterans like Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, and José Berríos makes Toronto an appealing and supportive landing spot for Ohtani.

Franchise Fit: The Blue Jays’ open payroll beyond 2025, coupled with the team’s inability to secure long-term deals with Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, provides financial flexibility. Although recent attempts fell short, the Blue Jays could use Ohtani as a superstar catalyst, potentially overcoming challenges in distinguishing themselves as top bidders or likely winners.

9. Seattle Mariners

Lineup Fit: The Seattle offense heavily relies on Julio Rodríguez, making the addition of Ohtani a significant upgrade. Ohtani would enhance the contributions of J.P. Crawford and Cal Raleigh, transforming the lineup into a more formidable force.

Pitching Fit: With a surplus of pitching options, the Mariners could confidently approach 2024 with a rotation led by Luis Castillo, George Kirby, and Logan Gilbert. The presence of second-year arms and rookies offers depth, allowing the Mariners to maintain a strong six-man rotation in 2025.

Franchise Fit: Seattle, hosting the All-Star Game recently, demonstrated a passionate fan base eager for Ohtani’s arrival. The Mariners’ history as the home of Ichiro Suzuki adds to their allure. The ownership’s commitment, evidenced by a significant deal for Rodríguez through 2029, showcases their willingness to invest in top-tier talent.

10. Los Angeles Angels

Lineup Fit: The Angels have ample room for Ohtani in both the lineup and pitching staff.

Pitching Fit: The team was structured to accommodate Ohtani, but potential concerns arise with reported overhauls in pitching development personnel. The nature of these changes raises uncertainties about their effectiveness.

Franchise Fit: The Angels’ hope lies in Ohtani’s familiarity with the team and personal relationships. Staying with the only American team he has known might be a comforting choice, despite the organization’s historical challenges. Ohtani’s optimism about the team’s ability to reach the postseason before his decline would be crucial.

Adjustments Needed: Long Shots with Theoretical Budgets

11. New York Mets

Analysis: Despite owner Steve Cohen’s wealth, recent signs point more towards a retrenchment year focused on building a consistent operation. The trade deadline moves and the hiring of David Stearns suggest a strategic shift away from a high-profile pursuit like Ohtani.

12. Philadelphia Phillies

Analysis: The Phillies face a unique DH challenge with a well-stocked lineup, particularly with Kyle Schwarber needing to occupy the DH slot. While short-term concerns exist, Dave Dombrowski’s win-now focus might prioritize other areas over Ohtani.

13. Houston Astros

Analysis: The Astros, known for consistent success, have budget constraints that might limit their pursuit of Ohtani. The looming end dates of Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman’s contracts raise questions about the team’s willingness to commit to a significant financial investment, given owner Jim Crane’s historical spending limits.

14. San Diego Padres

Analysis: The Padres’ immediate plans are unclear following owner Peter Seidler’s passing, and financial challenges, including a reported loan for September payroll, cast doubt on their ability for a big free-agent move. While A.J. Preller’s track record suggests unpredictability, the team’s current financial situation adds complexity to any major acquisitions this offseason.


Michigan Sign-Stealing Scandal: Significant Concern or Insignificant Matter?

Michigan Sign-Stealing Scandal: Significant Concern or Insignificant Matter?

The alleged Michigan sign-stealing scandal has prompted a crucial question: Did the Wolverines truly gain a significant advantage?

This piece was originally featured in Read & React, Yahoo Sports’ morning newsletter. Subscribe here.

A recently circulated video from the Ohio State-Michigan game last year has intensified discussions surrounding the controversial Connor Stalions. In the clip (shown below), former OSU QB C.J. Stroud appears to look to his sideline for signals, while Stalions, the central figure in the Michigan sign-stealing controversy, is seen focused across the field, seemingly seeking the same sign as Stroud. Stalions promptly gestures with his finger in the air, a typical signal for a pass play.

Credit By:

According to NCAA regulations, this real-time sign observation isn’t a violation. However, Michigan is under scrutiny for alleged in-person advanced scouting, which would indeed be an infraction. If there is enough evidence to prove that Stalions, either independently or in collaboration with other members of the Michigan coaching staff, engaged in prohibited in-person scouting of future opponents, appropriate action should be taken by the NCAA.

Recent developments, including a report by Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger, have contributed to the mounting suspicions, indicating that Stalions purchased tickets for games involving potential College Football Playoff contenders last season.

The cloud of suspicion surrounding Stalions and Michigan continues to grow.

Nevertheless, the pivotal question remains: Did the Wolverines truly benefit if they indeed used illicit scouting methods to pilfer signals?

Deion Sanders and Aaron Rodgers offered intriguing perspectives on the matter Tuesday, suggesting that possessing an opponent’s game plan doesn’t guarantee success.

Sanders emphasized that sign stealing provides a significant advantage in baseball but not necessarily in football. “If I know a curveball is coming, I got you. In football, I don’t give a darn if you know a sweep is coming, you still gotta stop it,” he remarked.

C redit By:

Rodgers delved deeper, elucidating the numerous elements of execution involved in interpreting defensive signals. “If anybody does anything different — I get sacked, pressured, safety doesn’t jump ’em — who gives a sh** if you know what the signal is?” Rodgers stated on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “You still gotta execute.”

The ‘Brotherly Shove’ play has become emblematic of this principle. Even with everyone aware of the play’s intent, the Eagles remain unstoppable.

It all comes down to execution.

Michigan, a formidable team, possibly the best in college football this season, thrives on precision execution, not on pilfering signs.

While this doesn’t absolve them of potential wrongdoing, it does underscore the notion that their victory would have been only slightly delayed had they adhered to the rules, akin to following the speed limit.

Returning to the incident in the video from Tuesday, it was third-and-goal for Ohio State at the Michigan 4-yard line. Anticipating a pass play in that circumstance hardly required extraordinary foresight.

And what transpired next?

Stroud connected with Emeka Egbuka on a crossing route for a touchdown.

Interpret it as you may.


Texas Rangers Emerge as Dominant Front-Runners in World Series Odds Ahead of Arizona Diamondbacks

Texas Rangers Emerge as Dominant Front-Runners in World Series Odds Ahead of Arizona Diamondbacks

The Texas Rangers Take the Lead in World Series Favoritism Against Arizona Diamondbacks

Credit By:

In the highly anticipated World Series opener, the Texas Rangers are stepping into the showdown with the Arizona Diamondbacks as clear frontrunners, carrying -175 odds to clinch their first-ever championship in franchise history. The Rangers are coming off a thrilling seven-game American League Championship Series victory over the Houston Astros, with each away team emerging victorious in every game of the series.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks, with an inspiring run through the postseason, secured their spot in the World Series by triumphing over the Philadelphia Phillies in an exhilarating Game 7 of the NLCS, marking their first appearance in the championship since 2001. Despite their impressive journey, the Diamondbacks are considered underdogs at +145 to claim the title.

Both teams, previously grappling with a 100-loss season in 2021, have astounded fans and analysts alike with their remarkable turnaround, entering the World Series after overcoming formidable opponents in the playoffs. The Rangers triumphed over the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles before toppling the Astros, while the Diamondbacks vanquished the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers before securing victory over the Phillies.

Despite the Rangers’ favored status, oddsmakers are predicting a closely contested series, with +200 odds for a six- or seven-game spectacle. The possibility of a five-game series stands at +275, while the odds of either team sweeping the series are set at +550.

Both teams are fielding strong starting pitchers, although uncertainties linger beyond the starting rotation. The Rangers have seen exceptional performances from Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi, while the Diamondbacks have relied

on the talents of Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. The outcome of the series may well hinge on each team’s ability to capitalize on opportunities created by their starters and the performance of the Rangers’ pitching ace, Max Scherzer, whose displays in the ALCS raised some questions for the upcoming games.

Predicting the World Series MVP Top Contenders to Shine

Credit By:

As the World Series unfolds, there is much speculation about who will earn the coveted title of World Series MVP. The current frontrunners are hailing from the Texas Rangers.

Leading the pack is the skilled shortstop, Corey Seager, with odds at +500. Following closely is the dynamic outfielder, Adolis Garcia, boasting odds of +600. Garcia’s standout performance in the ALCS saw him driving in a remarkable 15 runs and concluding the series with an incredible display, hitting a home run in the last four games. He’s maintained consistency throughout the playoffs, accumulating at least one hit in all but one of the Rangers’ 12 playoff games thus far. Garcia’s prowess certainly makes him a strong contender for the MVP title.

Representing the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ketel Marte and Corbin Carroll both carry odds of +950. Marte has been delivering a stellar performance with an impressive OPS of .986 across Arizona’s 12 playoff games. He has secured at least one hit in each of these critical games. Corbin Carroll had a quieter start in the NLCS with just one hit in the first four games, but he bounced back in Game 7, going 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs, and two steals, contributing significantly to the Diamondbacks’ 4-2 victory.

World Series MVP Favorites

  • Corey Seager, Texas Rangers (+500)
  • Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers (+600)
  • Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks (+950)
  • Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks (+950)
  • Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers (+1400)
  • Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks (+1600)
  • Evan Carter, Texas Rangers (+1600)

With these stellar contenders in the mix, the World Series MVP title promises to be highly competitive and filled with spectacular plays and moments.


Sean Casey Declines Return as Yankees Hitting Coach: 'Timing Isn't Right for Me

Sean Casey Declines Return as Yankees Hitting Coach: ‘Timing Isn’t Right for Me

Sean Casey Declines Return as New York Yankees Hitting Coach Citing Personal Reasons

Sean Casey revealed during his podcast on Wednesday that he will not be resuming his role as the hitting coach for the New York Yankees in the upcoming 2024 season.

During “The Mayor’s Office” podcast, Casey explained that his decision was driven by family commitments, particularly his desire to be present for his two daughters, aged 13 and 17, in Pittsburgh. Following a divorce a few years ago, he emphasized the importance of being available for his daughters, which would be challenging if he were to spend eight months away coaching in New York.

Expressing fondness for his time with the team, Casey mentioned that the decision was not an easy one. He acknowledged that while no official offer was made, the possibility of his return was on the table. However, he concluded that the current circumstances did not align well with his personal situation.

Casey, a former MLB player for 12 seasons across five different teams, joined the Yankees during the All-Star break last year after his stint at MLB Network. His hiring marked the first in-season coaching change made by Brian Cashman, the general manager, following the dismissal of Dillon Lawson.

The Yankees’ Offense Struggles Despite Shift in Coaching, Prompting Potential Organizational Changes”

Following a coaching transition, the New York Yankees’ offensive performance failed to improve significantly, with the team’s batting average dropping from .231 to .221 and the OPS diminishing from .711 to .688 during the latter part of the season.

The fourth-place finish in the AL East, coupled with the absence of postseason play in the Bronx for the first time since 2016, signaled an impending need for alterations. Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ owner, indicated as much during Sportico’s Invest in Sports conference earlier this month.

Steinbrenner’s statement via The Associated Press underscored the team’s intention to enact changes. While some adjustments might be subtle, there’s a clear recognition of areas where improvements are necessary.

“I want you to challenge everything, all of our philosophies, all of our practices, but more importantly, in a respectful way, I want you to challenge each other. I want you to critique each other. Check your egos at the door,” Steinbrenner expressed.

As questions arise about the team’s direction, Aaron Boone remains signed through 2024, and Brian Cashman’s contract is set to expire in 2026. The lackluster performance of the roster this past season left fans disillusioned, setting the stage for potentially difficult decisions regarding the team’s future personnel.


The Arizona Diamondbacks Shock the Phillies with a Game 7 Victory in the NLCS, Securing Their Spot in the World Series

The Arizona Diamondbacks Shock the Phillies with a Game 7 Victory in the NLCS, Securing Their Spot in the World Series

Citizens Bank Park fell into stunned silence on Tuesday as the Arizona Diamondbacks brought an end to the Phillies’ season in a tense Game 7 showdown. The Diamondbacks, known for their surprising playoff performance, secured their berth in the World Series with a hard-fought 4-2 triumph over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies, NLCS Game 7: D-backs 4, Phillies 2 (Arizona wins 4-3)

Game recap: The Diamondbacks took an early lead with two singles and a fielder’s choice in the opening inning. Alec Bohm responded for the Phillies with a powerful solo home run, leveling the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second.

The Phillies surged ahead in the fourth, as Bryson Stott’s double brought home Bohm. However, Corbin Carroll quickly countered in the subsequent half-inning with a clutch two-out single that allowed Emmanuel Rivera to score. Carroll’s stolen base was followed by a timely single from Gabriel Moreno, swiftly reclaiming the lead for the Arizona team.

The Diamondbacks extended their lead in the seventh, with Geraldo Perdomo’s single, Ketel Marte’s double, and a sacrifice fly from Carroll. Marte’s continued postseason hitting streak earned him the well-deserved title of NLCS MVP.


While both teams had opportunities to add to their scores, the resilient bullpens kept the game closely contested and low-scoring. Ultimately, it was the Arizona pitchers who managed to stifle the Philadelphia offense.

Pivotal moments: Two crucial moments stood out during the game. Firstly, in the top of the fifth, Carroll and Moreno’s clutch two-out singles not only leveled the score but also snatched the lead back from the Phillies, leading to the departure of Philadelphia starter Ranger Suárez just as the home team appeared to gain momentum.

Secondly, in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies seemed poised to seize the advantage. Walks from Christian Pache and Kyle Schwarber set the stage for Trea Turner and Bryce Harper to make a heroic move. However, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo’s decision to bring in Kevin Ginkel proved pivotal, as he managed to secure critical outs from both Turner and Harper, quelling the potential threat.

Credit By:

To cap off his remarkable performance, Ginkel secured three consecutive strikeouts in the following inning, dismissing Bohm, Stott, and J.T. Realmuto. This sequence left the Phillies heading into the ninth inning desperately needing runs to salvage their season.

Player of the Match: In the decisive Game 7 of the NLCS, Corbin Carroll delivered an impressive 3-for-4 performance, matching the record for hits by a rookie in a high-stakes, winner-take-all game. Carroll’s contributions were pivotal, as he not only scored but also drove in crucial runs, showcasing his talent at the grandest stage.

What’s on the horizon? With their hard-fought victory, the 84-win Diamondbacks secured their spot in the World Series for the first time since 2001. Their next challenge comes against the Texas Rangers. The opening game is scheduled for 8:03 p.m. ET on Friday at Arlington, Texas.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are left to reflect on their journey as they head back home. Their season has come to an end.


Former MLB Pitcher Arrested in Connection to Murder of Ex-Father-in-Law

Former MLB Pitcher Arrested in Connection to Murder of Ex-Father-in-Law

Former MLB Pitcher Dan Serafini and Samantha Scott Arrested in Connection to 2021 Lake Tahoe Shooting

In a significant development, two individuals, including former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher Dan Serafini, were apprehended in Nevada concerning a violent incident near Lake Tahoe. The attack resulted in the tragic death of Robert Gary Spohr and left his wife, Wendy Wood, in critical condition.

After an extensive two-year investigation, authorities took Danny Serafini, 49, and Samantha Scott, 33, into custody, with arrests occurring hundreds of miles apart in Las Vegas and northwestern Reno. It was revealed that they were acquainted with both the victims, Spohr and Wood.

Robert Spohr, aged 70, lost his life during the shooting at their residence in an unincorporated community located along the shores of Lake Tahoe, California, as reported by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The accused will face extradition to California, according to officials.

Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo expressed, “Today, justice was served.” He commended the relentless efforts of detectives, law enforcement partners, and the unwavering pursuit of the truth, stating that the apprehension of the individuals responsible for the tragic events in Homewood, North Lake Tahoe in 2021 serves as a testament to their dedication.

Serafini’s attorney, David Fischer, has yet to respond to inquiries from The Associated Press about the arrest. Notably, Dan Serafini had a career as an MLB pitcher drafted in 1992, with an 11-year career spanning multiple teams, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The Clark County Public Defender’s Office has not returned calls from the AP regarding Scott’s legal representation. Police records do not currently list an attorney for her, and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson has no information about her legal representation.

Video footage captured from the Spohr and Wood residence revealed a man wearing a gray hoodie, face covering, and a backpack approaching their home hours before the assault. Another video showed the same individual walking up the driveway.

Deputies responded to a 911 call from the residence, discovering that Spohr had been shot once, and Wood had sustained at least two gunshot wounds. While Wood survived her injuries, she tragically passed away a year later.


MLB Gold Glove Finalists Revealed; Nolan Arenado Snubbed for the First Time in 11 Years

MLB Gold Glove Finalists Revealed; Nolan Arenado Snubbed for the First Time in 11 Years

Nolan Arenado, an iconic figure in third base defense and a perennial Gold Glove awardee, faced an unexpected twist this year. MLB’s recent announcement of the 60 Gold Glove finalists brought a surprising omission.

Throughout his career, Arenado clinched the National League Gold Glove for his position without fail since his debut in 2013. He also boasted an impressive streak of six consecutive platinum gloves, recognizing him as the league’s finest fielder.

Arenado shares a record with Seattle Mariners’ legend, Ichiro Suzuki, for the most consecutive Gold Gloves at the start of a career. His ten Gold Gloves tie him with Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies, placing them second all-time at the position, behind only the late Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles.

This year, the 2023 finalists include Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves, and Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies, who assumed the position in Denver after Arenado’s trade to the Cardinals.

The exclusion of Arenado is somewhat expected, given that all three finalists outperformed the veteran in the crucial “Defensive Runs Saved” metric, a comprehensive gauge of defensive prowess. However, it’s worth noting that Arenado managed to surpass Riley in Statcast’s “Outs Above Average.”

The competition at other positions varies in intensity. Below is the complete list of nominees, with the leaders in Defensive Runs Saved marked in italics.


ALCS Game 3: Leody Taveras (Rangers) steals Yordan Álvarez of a seemingly sure home run

ALCS Game 3: Leody Taveras (Rangers) steals Yordan Álvarez of a seemingly sure home run

Leody Taveras showcases his exceptional skills in the postseason. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

A standout moment in the postseason was when Leody Taveras, the Texas Rangers’ outfielder, stole a home run right out of Yordan Álvarez’s grasp. With the score at 5-2 in the sixth inning, Álvarez, facing a challenging slider from Rangers’ reliever

Cody Bradford, launched a shot to center field that seemed destined for the stands. However, Taveras had other plans. Charging toward the ball, he expertly timed his leap and extended his glove over the wall, denying what would have been a significant lead-extending run for the Houston Astros.

The spectacular catch prevented a 416-foot hit, according to MLB’s Statcast, stopping it a mere 9 feet shy of the 407-foot center-field wall. This feat defied the expected batting average of the hit, prompting a potential reevaluation of the metric.

Taveras has been on fire at the plate this postseason, boasting an impressive slash line of .348/.483/.609 along with a home

run, three RBIs, and three stolen bases in seven games. Evidently, his defensive prowess matches his batting prowess, cementing his valuable presence on the field for the Rangers.


Young MLB Rookies Evan Carter and Corbin Carroll Unfazed by High-Stakes Playoffs

Young MLB Rookies Evan Carter and Corbin Carroll Unfazed by High-Stakes Playoffs

In a crucial October play at Citizens Bank Park, Johan Rojas raced toward the warning track, skillfully gauging the trajectory of the hard-hit ball hurtling towards the fence. With a spectacular leaping catch, he secured the out before colliding with the wall, prompting a thunderous roar from the crowd.

Notably, Rojas is a relative newcomer to the big leagues, joining the ranks of impact-making rookies in this year’s postseason, including Corbin Carroll from the Arizona Diamondbacks and Evan Carter and Josh Jung from the Texas Rangers. Their contributions signify the continuation of a remarkable regular season for rookie hitters, marking a significant presence in MLB history.

Up to Monday, 18 rookies had registered at-bats in the postseason, collectively averaging a .247 batting average and an .819 OPS. Notably, five rookies, including Carter, Carroll, Gunnar Henderson from the Baltimore Orioles, and Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien from the Minnesota Twins, boasted OPS scores exceeding 1.000, with Jung closely following at .947. In contrast, the postseason average for all players stood at .710.

This trend represents a broader pattern of rookie players dominating the postseason. Notably, two of the last three ALCS MVPs, Randy Arozarena in 2020 and Jeremy Peña in 2022, were rookies, with Peña also clinching the World Series MVP title.

The 23-year-old defensive whiz Rojas is celebrated for his extraordinary fielding skills, evidenced by his pivotal catch against Ronald Acuña Jr. during Game 4 of the NL Division Series, which helped propel the Phillies to victory over the Braves and secure their spot in the NLCS.

Conversely, Carroll, aged 23, has emerged as a top contender for the NL Rookie of the Year, having showcased his prowess with 25 homers and 54 stolen bases during the regular season. Unfazed by the playoff pressure, Carroll has maintained a strong performance in the postseason, boasting a .333 batting average, along with two home runs, two stolen bases, and six walks across seven games.

Both Rojas and Carroll represent the rising talent among the younger players, setting a high standard for performance and composure in high-stakes games.

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy expressed his admiration for the composure displayed by the young talents, noting their impressive performance and resilience in the high-stakes games. He highlighted their unwavering focus and fearlessness, emphasizing their eagerness to take on challenging moments.

“These two players exhibit a genuine passion for the game and thrive in the intensity of the field. Their enthusiasm is palpable,” Bochy added.

Corey Seager, the Texas shortstop, credited Jung’s return and Carter’s recent call-up for revitalizing the team’s spirit during a late-season slump. The Rangers are currently leading the AL Championship Series 2-0 against the defending World Series champions, the Houston Astros.

Seager commented, “The added energy and edge brought by these players are instrumental in pushing us forward, reminding us of our position in the season and what we aim to achieve. It’s been immensely beneficial for the team.”

The quartet of young stars has gained significant popularity in their respective home markets, a testament to their remarkable performances. Even though Henderson, Lewis, and Julien couldn’t continue their journey in the postseason, they still made noteworthy contributions in October.

Rojas, expressing his gratitude, stated, “The warm reception I received from everyone was incredible. As a rookie, there’s nothing better than feeling welcomed like this. I’m thrilled to be playing for this team, this city, this enthusiastic crowd, and these fans. It’s an incredible experience.


Braves Enter Offseas on with 13 Arbitration-Eligible Players

Braves Enter Offseas on with 13 Arbitration-Eligible Players

The 2023 season has drawn to a close for the Atlanta Braves, shifting their focus to the offseason. As the dust settles from the World Series and free agents hit the market, the Braves now find themselves navigating the complex world of arbitration, with several of their players eligible for this process. MLB Trade Rumors recently unveiled their annual arbitration projections, revealing that the Braves have a notable roster of 13 players on the list, including some prominent names.

Arbitration, as always, brings its share of uncertainties, with some players likely to part ways with the team early, while others may agree to deals before the arbitration process reaches its conclusion.

Here’s a glimpse of the eligible players, alongside MLB Trade Rumors’ salary projections:

  • A.J. Minter ($6.5 million)
  • Max Fried ($14.4 million)
  • Yonny Chirinos ($2 million)
  • Michael Soroka ($3 million)
  • Nick Anderson ($1.6 million)
  • Nicky Lopez ($3.9 million)
  • Kolby Allard ($1 million)
  • Ben Heller ($900k)
  • Sam Hilliard ($1.1 million)
  • Michael Tonkin ($1 million)
  • Kyle Wright ($1.4 million)
  • Andrew Velazquez ($740k)
  • Huascar Ynoa ($1 million)

Among this group, the spotlight falls on Max Fried and A.J. Minter, both entering their final year of arbitration and the last year of team control. The Braves face an intriguing decision regarding Michael Soroka, who is out of options and working to regain his form after enduring a pair of Achilles injuries.

Reserve infielder Nicky Lopez also appears on the list, with a projected salary just below $4 million. Meanwhile, starting shortstop Orlando Arcia is set to earn $2 million in the upcoming season.

This roster also includes relievers Nick Anderson and Michael Tonkin, along with Kyle Wright, who is expected to miss the entire 2024 season following shoulder surgery.


There is a Shared Interest Between the Cubs and Pete Alonso

There is a Shared Interest Between the Cubs and Pete Alonso

Regardless of whether the Mets secure Yamamoto during free agency, they will face a significant decision regarding Pete Alonso this upcoming winter.

The powerful first baseman is approaching the final year under the team’s control, and all signs seem to point to the Cubs if the Mets decide to make him available. The Cubs have previously attempted to acquire him, and both Levine and Rogers have received information indicating that Alonso remains a target for the team.

Rogers went as far as suggesting, ‘I think that he is as interested in joining us as we are in having him.’

However, to counter the growing excitement, Heyman has contested the idea that Alonso is set on becoming a Cub. Not long ago, David Stearns, the Mets’ new president of baseball operations, affirmed his expectation that Alonso would continue as the team’s starting first baseman next season.

Despite this, the future remains uncertain. The Mets might be eyeing 2025 or 2026 for their next contention run, while Alonso’s new agent, Scott Boras, isn’t known for facilitating contract extensions. Additionally, with Cody Bellinger soon entering the open market, the Cubs’ apparent gap at first base becomes even more prominent.


Could Anthony Santander Trade Possible for the Orioles?

Could Anthony Santander Trade Possible for the Orioles?

To be fair to Kubatko, his piece on the Orioles and Anthony Santander leans more toward suggestion than explicit rumor or conjecture.

Within his article, Kubatko projects, in his own words, that there is ‘zero chance’ the team will retain all 16 of its arbitration-eligible players. He highlights Santander’s significant raise from $7.4 to $12.7 million, previous trade interests in him, and the fact that the club’s control over him lasts only until 2024.

While it’s true that previous speculations about Santander did not materialize, Kubatko’s implications remain valid. This raises the crucial question of whether the Orioles can function effectively without Santander.


The White Sox Show Interest in Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield

The White Sox Show Interest in Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield

Citing Bruce Levine from 670 The Score, reports reveal that the White Sox have extensively discussed the potential trade for Salvador Perez and the signing of Whit Merrifield, following a significant overhaul of their front office and roster after a disappointing 101-loss season.

Although Whit Merrifield’s departure from the Toronto Blue Jays isn’t confirmed, the likelihood of the team exercising his $18 million mutual option for 2024 appears low. Meanwhile, Salvador Perez, with a remaining contract worth $44 million until 2025, was a notable trade target in the recent season.

There’s no doubt that both players would significantly bolster the White Sox’s roster. With Perez’s eight All-Star appearances, he would bring a substantial upgrade to the team’s catching position, which was ranked 30th with minus-1.5 rWAR in 2023. Similarly, Merrifield’s expertise at second base would address the team’s deficiency in the position, as they ranked 29th with minus-0.4 rWAR.

However, the White Sox’s interest in these players doesn’t guarantee their acquisition. Perez’s contentment in Kansas City might prompt him to exercise his 10-and-5 rights to block any potential trade, even if the White Sox and Royals were to strike a deal. Additionally, if Merrifield enters free agency, his impressive track record as a three-time All-Star could attract numerous suitors, potentially posing a challenge for the White Sox, especially as they have just initiated a rebuilding phase.

In conclusion, the likelihood of these acquisitions seems uncertain, leading to a skeptical verdict.


Delving into the Early 2023-24 MLB Offseason Rumors and Buzz

Delving into the Early 2023-24 MLB Offseason Rumors and Buzz

Amidst the clamor of the postseason, faint whispers about the upcoming developments in Major League Baseball’s 2023-24 offseason are struggling to be heard.

However, it’s crucial to question their credibility.

Let’s assess these whispers through the lens of the classic game of ‘Buy or Sell.’ Several rumors and speculations have surfaced, and it’s vital to determine whether they hold any weight as potential realities.

While these rumors are not explicitly ranked, we’ll examine them in ascending order of intrigue.


What occurred with the Blue Jays in 2023?

What occurred with the Blue Jays in 2023?

The Blue Jays have long been forgotten in the ongoing postseason, as the attention shifts to the ALCS featuring the Texas teams and the NLCS showdown between the D-backs and the Phillies.

For the Blue Jays, there’s little consolation in this reality. Despite their impressive roster on paper, their recent postseason struggles have left them grappling with disappointment, with a need for a potential shift in their team’s identity becoming increasingly apparent.

Mark Shapiro, the team’s president and CEO, expressed his profound disappointment in the team’s failure to meet the expectations of their dedicated fanbase. Despite their talent, the Blue Jays have consistently fallen short in critical moments, resulting in a string of Wild Card Series sweeps over the past few seasons.

Here’s a brief review of the 2023 season:

Key Moment Vladimir Guerrero Jr. pickoff in Game 2

The enduring image of Guerrero Jr. being picked off at second base during the Wild Card loss encapsulates the essence of the Blue Jays’ season. Despite a roster brimming with talent, the team often struggled to deliver when it mattered most, squandering opportunities to advance in crucial games.

Lesson Learned The complexity of ‘windows’

While the Blue Jays appeared well-positioned for success in 2023, the unexpected rise of the Orioles and the consistent competitiveness of the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox in the AL East presented formidable challenges. Securing the division in 2024 now seems like a formidable task given the changing dynamics of the division.

Notable Progress Bounce-back performances by Berríos and Kikuchi

Amidst the team’s challenges, the resurgence of pitchers José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi provided a silver lining for the Blue Jays. These two pitchers played pivotal roles in protecting the team’s rotation, mitigating some of the deficiencies in the pitching staff.

In the midst of grappling with various uncertainties, the organization can take solace in the strength of its rotation heading into the 2024 season. Area for Enhancement: Power Hitting

Despite Guerrero’s 26 home runs leading the team and Springer following closely with 21, the Blue Jays ranked 16th in MLB with a total of 188 home runs. Such figures fail to reflect the full potential of the lineup’s capabilities.

The offensive shortcomings, particularly the struggle to deliver with runners in scoring position, were a persistent topic throughout the season. While there was a turnaround in fortune later in the year, an uptick in home runs could effectively mask many of these issues. Thus, a renewed focus on power hitting should be a crucial part of the upcoming offseason strategy.

Emerging Star Ricky T

Top prospect Ricky Tiedemann will undoubtedly be one of the most anticipated stories during the team’s Spring Training next February. Tiedemann’s resurgence in the Arizona Fall League, marked by a 2.77 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 13 innings, is a testament to his resilience after a truncated 2023 season due to injury.

While managing his workload remains a key consideration, the Blue Jays might consider starting Tiedemann in Triple-A in 2024 to ensure his readiness for a significant promotion. Tiedemann’s potential is nothing short of breathtaking when all the elements align, although forecasting the performance and health of a pitching prospect remains an uncertain game in the world of baseball.

Team MVP Bo Bichette

Bo Bichette’s contribution on and off the field has positioned him as the team’s most valuable player and a potential face of the franchise moving forward. Despite contending with late-season injuries, Bichette managed an impressive .306 batting average with 20 home runs over 135 games. His growth as a young leader, influenced by the guidance of Marcus Semien, is evident, and another significant leap in performance is expected from him in the upcoming 2024 season.

Dodgers seek starting pitching upgrades in the upcoming winter following disappointing postseason results.

Dodgers seek starting pitching upgrades in the upcoming winter following disappointing postseason results.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Following a disappointing early exit from the playoffs for the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the hunt for starting pitching upgrades.

The anticipated return of Walker Buehler, who is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, along with a group of promising rookies, provides some hope. However, with Tony Gonsolin expected to miss the entire 2024 season due to injury, the team is actively exploring options to reinforce their rotation.

While eyes are on Shohei Ohtani, the two-way star for the Los Angeles Angels, his recovery from Tommy John surgery means he won’t be pitching next year. This situation has the Dodgers looking beyond Ohtani for pitching reinforcements, including the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is set to make the move to Major League Baseball.

President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman expressed the team’s frustration with their recent postseason struggles and emphasized the need for improvement. While acknowledging his own responsibility in the team’s performance, Friedman underscored the collective effort needed to address the challenges.

Despite ongoing speculation about Clayton Kershaw’s future, the Dodgers remain eager to have the three-time Cy Young Award winner back on the team, emphasizing their commitment to the veteran left-hander’s return.

Friedman also confirmed that manager Dave Roberts will be returning for his ninth season, expressing confidence in the team’s potential for a strong championship bid in the upcoming season.


Bohm's Defensive Rebound Showcased in Phillies' Game 2 Performance

Bohm’s Defensive Rebound Showcased in Phillies’ Game 2 Performance

Bohm Shines Defensively for Phillies in Game 2 Triumph PHILADELPHIA — Rarely does a player’s baseball career feature such a public and challenging moment as Alec Bohm’s. Committing three errors in as many innings and expressing his frustration with “I hate this place” while at Citizens Bank Park during a game against the Mets last season can be a daunting experience. In the demanding environment of Philadelphia, forgiveness is not always guaranteed.

However, Bohm handled the situation differently from others that evening 18 months ago. He took responsibility for his mistake and apologized, and Phillies fans largely forgave him. Since then, his relationship with the fans and the team has transformed remarkably. No one has embodied the club’s defensive resurgence more than Bohm, who made three impressive plays on Tuesday night in Philadelphia’s dominant 10-0 victory over the D-backs in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

NLCS Game 3, presented by loanDepot: Thursday, 5 p.m. ET on TBS “He has been playing exceptionally well defensively lately, and it’s been like that for a while now,” said Phillies manager Rob Thomson.

The highlight of Bohm’s performance came in the second inning when he made a diving catch to his right, snagging a 104-mph Gabriel Moreno line drive. Bohm then quickly rose to his knee and fired a perfect throw to first base for the out.

This strong defensive play isn’t limited to Bohm. As a team, the Phillies ranked 16th in the Majors during the regular season with -1 outs above average (OAA), a comprehensive statistic that measures the number of plays made and their difficulty. While still technically below average, this represented a significant improvement from last season when Philadelphia was 29th in the Majors with -34 OAA.

The strong defensive performance has continued into October. Except for Trea Turner, who has four errors this postseason, the Phillies have made only one defensive mistake in eight games. Bryce Harper has been impressive at first base, Rookie Johan Rojas and second-year player Bryson Stott have made significant contributions up the middle, and catcher J.T. Realmuto, along with the pitching staff, has neutralized Arizona’s running game.

“We’ve played phenomenal defense,” Realmuto commented. “There have been numerous challenging plays made in both the infield and outfield, and we’ve converted them all into outs.”

Then there’s Bohm, who recognized the need to improve his defense after his three-error game last April. Known as a bat-first prospect when he was selected by the Phillies third overall out of Wichita State in 2018, Bohm brought defensive concerns with him throughout his Minor League career, and he failed to address them during his early Major League days.

However, it seems that 2022 marked his low point. Since then, Bohm has worked diligently with infield coach Bobby Dickerson, dedicating long hours to defensive improvement during Spring Training, regardless of how he felt or his initial enthusiasm. This effort has led to minor improvements in his defensive statistics, including a shift from -6 to -4 OAA.

Bohm may not be considered a standout defender, but nowadays, he is contributing more positively than negatively to the Phillies’ defense. This enables his potent bat to remain a constant presence in the lineup, as he proved with a two-run double on Tuesday that was part of Philadelphia’s game-sealing four-run seventh-inning rally.

“As much as we have some excellent hitters, games are often won with defense,” Bohm explained. “Regardless of our hitting performance, we can always excel defensively.”

Early on Wednesday morning, Bohm spoke these words confidently, as someone who has been making challenging plays look routine for quite some time. Nevertheless, he has not forgotten his past. When asked if he could have delivered this level of defensive performance two years ago, Bohm hesitated and replied with a smile, “I can’t say for sure. It’s all about confidence and trust in the hard work put in.


Inside the Empire: Latest Yankees Updates - 10/18/23

Inside the Empire Latest Yankees Updates – 10/18/23

Cabrera Heads to Winter Ball, Yankees Eye Japanese Closer, Schmidt’s Chat with FanGraphs, and Law’s Insights on Sauer

Líder en Deportes: After some Twitter buzz, it took a while to track down this story. Oswaldo Cabrera, who endured a disappointing 2023 season, is set to join Tiburones de La Guaira in Venezuela for winter ball. The plan is for him to gain a month of experience in various positions across the diamond, further honing his skills as a versatile utility player. Notably, Cabrera will also have the chance to play alongside his older brother Leobaldo, a former Baby Bomber who played Independent ball in 2023. It’s a long-awaited opportunity for the two siblings.

MLB Trade Rumors | Mark Polishuk: The Yankees are actively exploring options to enhance their roster this offseason. Japanese closer Yuki Matsui, following an impressive career in Nippon Professional Baseball, may be headed to the MLB. The Yankees are among nine teams that scouted Matsui, and it’s worth monitoring whether the soon-to-be 28-year-old southpaw chooses to make the move to Major League Baseball. Notably, the MLB bonus pool structure doesn’t apply to Matsui due to his age and experience.

FanGraphs | David Laurila: Following his debut season as a MLB starting pitcher, Schmidt sat down with Laurila to revisit a conversation they had over a year ago. Their discussion delves into Schmidt’s cutter, his primary pitch by volume, and provides clarity on how he categorizes his sweeper/slider/baby whirly.

The Athletic | Keith Law: The Arizona Fall League is in full swing, and prospect expert Keith Law has been closely watching some of baseball’s premier prospects. Among the Yankees’ notable prospects in Arizona is Matt Sauer. Law provides brief insights into Sauer’s performance, noting that he’s consistently hitting 94-97 mph with his fastball this fall and possesses an above-average curveball. However, there’s a downside as Law points out Sauer’s “very violent” delivery and does not mention a third pitch.

MORE FROM PINSTRIPE ALLEY Presenting the 2023 Yankees Roster Report Cards Solomon’s Gleyby: Splitting the difference with Gleyber Torres The Pumpkinification of the 2023 Yankees NYY News: Arbitration Predictions 2023 Yankees Most Valuable Player: Gerrit Cole The 1998 Yankees Diary: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective


in our DNA' Diamondbacks aim to reintroduce aggressive baserunning

in our DNA’ Diamondbacks aim to reintroduce aggressive baserunning

PHILADELPHIA — Heading into the 2023 season, the D-backs made it clear that their game plan would revolve around their strengths: pitching, timely hits, and aggressive baserunning, a tactic deeply ingrained in their style.

NLCS Game 3, presented by loanDepot: Thursday, 5 p.m. ET/2 MST on TBS During the regular season, the D-backs showcased their prowess on the basepaths, ranking second in the Majors with 166 stolen bases, trailing only the Reds with 190. Their ability to create chaos quickly became the team’s mantra.

However, in the National League Championship Series against the Phillies, the D-backs found themselves unable to execute their trademark aggression, failing to steal any bases in the first two games. This setback contributed to their 2-0 deficit following a crushing 10-0 defeat to the Phillies in Game 2 at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday.

“We need to play Diamondback baseball,” emphasized D-backs manager Torey Lovullo. “What we saw out there wasn’t consistent with our style of play. We need to regroup and find a way to turn things around.”

In Game 2, Corbin Carroll’s early single did not translate into a stolen base opportunity, with the Phillies’ cautious pitching preventing any successful attempts. Lovullo explained, “He was slide-stepping every pitch to keep him there. I didn’t want to risk an out. We are naturally aggressive, but he was making it challenging.”

Despite several chances to create pressure on the bases, the D-backs couldn’t convert, leaving runners stranded. Facing formidable pitchers like Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, known for their ability to stifle baserunners, added to the challenge. Wheeler only allowed three stolen bases this season, while Nola’s adjusted pitching style and J.T. Realmuto’s quick catching have compounded the difficulty.

Looking ahead to Game 3, left-hander Ranger Suárez’s limited allowance of stolen bases during the regular season presents yet another hurdle for the D-backs.

Carroll, acknowledging the team’s struggles, emphasized the lack of opportunities, while the team’s key hitters, including Pham and Walker, have yet to find their rhythm against the Phillies’ formidable pitching lineup.

Tuesday’s shutout marked the first time the D-backs had been blanked in 47 postseason games, underscoring the challenge they face in igniting their trademark aggression in the series.