MLBits: White Sox Sign Andrus, Guardians Take Advantage of Dropped Third Strike, BA's Prospect Org. Rankings, Sad Umps, More

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MLBits: White Sox Sign Andrus, Guardians Take Advantage of Dropped Third Strike, BA’s Prospect Org. Rankings, Sad Umps, More

Chicago Cubs

With Tim Anderson and Leury Garcia sidelined, the White Sox are adding recently released infielder Elvis Andrus to the mix.

White Sox Sign Elvis Andrus

With the White Sox just two games behind Cleveland in the AL Central and All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson sidelined for at least the next month, the South Siders are reportedly signing Elvis Andrus who was recently released by the Athletics.

Andrus wasn’t having a bad season in Oakland, slashing .237/.301/.373 from the plate with eight home runs and 30 RBIs this season, but the A’s weren’t willing to allow him to reach a vesting option that would have paid the veteran infielder $15 million next season.

The White Sox will not be on the hook for that option, as MLBTR explains:

Prior to his release, Andrus was playing out the final season of an eight-year, $120MM contract originally signed with the Rangers. The White Sox will only owe him the prorated league minimum for the remainder of the season, with the A’s still on the hook for the remainder of Andrus’ $14MM salary. That previous contract included a vesting $15MM player option upon Andrus reaching 550 plate appearances — he’s currently at 386 — but that’s a moot point now that he’s been released from his prior contract and signed a new one with Chicago. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season.

With Anderson sidelined and Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick on the IL, the White Sox felt that a veteran in that spot over rookies Lenyn Sosa and Romy Gonzalez would be better served as they try to catch the Guardians in the AL Central down the stretch.

Guardians Take Advantage of Extra Out

With the Twins and White Sox just one game behind Cleveland in the AL Central on Wednesday and the Twins having already won earlier in the day, the Guardians looked like they were going to relinquish the top spot in the division.

After Owen Miller and Andrés Giménez struck out in the eighth inning, the Guardians were down to their final four outs and trailing by a pair of runs. Luke Maile then struck out, but the Guardians caught a break when the ball got away from Eric Haase and trickled to the backstop, allowing Maile to reach first base safely.

Opportunistic has been one of the season’s themes for the Guardians, so it’s no surprise that they parlayed this dropped third strike and extra out in the eighth inning into six runs and a victory.

Guardians rookie Steven Kwan said after the game that Cleveland takes pride in winning in spite of the consensus opinion that their team isn’t built for a run at October:

“We take a bunch of pride in that,” Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan said. “I think we’re very cognizant that not a lot of people thought we’d be in the position we are, so we take that, and us being a really young squad, I think we’re really internalizing that and showing it on the field and having a lot of fun, and hopefully we keep it rolling.”

Cleveland is a game ahead of the Twins in the AL Central entering play today and two games ahead of the White Sox.

MLB Umpires Peeved Over Criticism

MLB umpires are peeved over criticism by players and teams this season, and surprisingly, this has nothing to do with balls and strikes (to which they deserve plenty of flack). Instead, the MLB Umpire’s Association released a statement on Wednesday pushing back against growing criticism of calls and reviews of plays at the plate.

Particularly why video reviews have been responsible for eight overturned calls at home this season, the most since that type of challenge was instituted in 2014. Recent ones, including the one on Tuesday night in Cleveland, resulted in teams asking MLB for clarification on the rule.

Tuesday night’s occurrence came in the top of the first of a game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Guardians when Austin Hedges tagged Javy Báez out at the plate for the final out of the inning, or so everyone thought. After a replay review initiated by Tigers skipper AJ Hinch returned a ruling from New York that Hedges “did not give the runner a lane,” the Tigers scored three runs in the inning, going on to beat the first-place Guardians, 4-3.

After Tuesday night’s game, Hedges said that the decision cost the Guardians the game and questioned why the rule seems to be being called differently lately.

“First of all, it cost the game,” Hedges said after the loss. “It’s a play that’s been called a few times now recently that really has never been called before. … There’s plays at home that are beating the runners, and for 150 years, you’re out. And now, we’re calling some type of rule that is really tricky to define.”

ESPN obtained a copy of the statement by the MLBUA, which reminded players that the original rule essentially abolishing legal intentional collisions at the plate was one driven by the players after the Buster Posey injury and one that catchers are now trying to take advantage of by not allowing baserunners a path to home plate without a collision.

More from Jesse Rogers on the rebuttal by the umpires association and MLB’s clarification on the matter:

Odds and Ends

  • Baseball America‘s updated organizational rankings now feature the Orioles in the top spot with the Dodgers right behind them in the second position. BA’s organizational talent rankings (as described in the latest ranking) began in 1984 and evaluate each organization’s farm system as a whole. The rankings emphasize the top prospects who drive the most value for their clubs while blending in the prospect depth within each organization.
  • Yes, the DODGERS have the second best farm system in baseball. Sigh.
  • Here’s an interesting read by Bradford Doolittle at ESPN on when a rebuild might be considered a failure in the wake of Detroit firing Al Avila and Texas firing Jon Daniels, two teams that are half-decades deep into their rebuilds and still nowhere near a rise to prominence.
  • Max Scherzer made history on Wednesday night when he tied Pedro Martinez at 3,154 strikeouts, 13th on the all-time strikeout list. Scherzer and the Mets beat the Braves 9-7 despite a late-game rally by the Braves.
  • In last night’s victory for the Mets, rookie Brett Baty went yard in his first major league at-bat:
  • And the reaction from his family was priceless:
  • The Yankees needed a moment like this one badly. Josh Donaldson drilled a walk-off grand slam out of the yard at Yankee Stadium last night to give the Yanks an 8-7 victory over the Rays.
  • Well, that didn’t turn out to be the best idea:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.