First Call: Pirates’ price for Felipe Vazquez becoming clear; robot umpires debut
In “First Call” Wednesday, we catch wind of what the Pirates’ asking price is for Felipe Vazquez. It’s “Tacko Time” in Boston. And robot umpires make their debut.
Fishing for Felipe
We’ve talked about what it would take for the Pirates to get Madison Bumgarner if they stay in the playoff race.
But what would it take for them to part with Felipe Vazquez if things go south between now and the July 31 trade deadline?
The Dodgers are said to covet Vazquez. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi seems to have an idea who Neal Huntington may want in return for his closer.
How high is #Pirates price on Felipe Vázquez? Sources say Pittsburgh likely would ask #Dodgers for *at least* two of the Keibert Ruiz/Gavin Lux/Dustin May/Will Smith group if talks ever advanced. (And one source said Pirates remain unsure if they sell at all.) @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 10, 2019
Those four players are — in order — the top four prospects in the Los Angeles system.
Keibert Ruiz is a catcher. He’s at Double-A Tulsa. Gavin Lux plays shortstop and second base. Dustin May is a 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher. Those two have split time between Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. Will Smith has spent all year in Oklahoma. He catches and plays third base.
I’m on record saying that I wouldn’t trade Vazquez. But a haul like this would tempt me. Especially if May is one of the players coming back.
Celtics rookie Tacko Fall is quickly becoming a sensation in the NBA rookie league.
He’s the 7-foot-7 center the Celtics drafted out of Central Florida. And he has become an instant hit with the fans.
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 10, 2019
With plays like this, you can see why.
Just throw it within 100 feet of Tacko Fall pic.twitter.com/EZ4i8kThe0
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 10, 2019
His free throw technique is amusing to say the least, as well.
The summer league crowd loves itself some Tacko Fall (also, his free throw form is a lane violation waiting to happen) pic.twitter.com/R4O96kX1nT
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2019
And if you don’t chuckle watching people try to take charges from him, you are dead inside.
Take a charge from Tacko Fall at your own risk 🤣 pic.twitter.com/Eg8izMQgLL
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 10, 2019
Via Yahoo.com, Fall has been averaging 9 points and 3 rebounds and a block in 10.5 minutes per game and was a plus-18 and plus-9 against Philadelphia and Cleveland, respectively.
Pass the salsa. I’m all in on Tacko.
Kanter’s cheat day
Meanwhile, another Celtics center, Enes Kanter, posted video of his diet “cheat day.”
It’s not so much a cheat day. It is more like him eating as if there is an eighth day in the week.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) July 10, 2019
My two takeaways from that video are:
1. Thankfully, at least he didn’t involve the sushi with that mess.
2. I hung with him until he drenched the hot dog/pizza/burger trio with mayo. That’s a crime in most countries, isn’t it?
Some love for the Dukes
The Duquesne basketball team got a little national praise this week.
Jon Rothstein, College Basketball Insider for CBS Sports, ranked his top incoming freshmen for the A-10. He lists two of Keith Dambrot’s players among the best of the bunch.
5 Impact Atlantic 10 Freshmen (in no particular order):
Bones Hyland, VCU
James Ellis, Duquesne (redshirt)
Maceo Austin, Duquesne
Tre Mitchell, UMass
Hyunjung Lee, Davidson
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 8, 2019
James Ellis sat out last year after playing at Westinghouse. He’s a 6-foot-11 center with a 7-foot-6 wingspan. He was named the City League Player of the Year, plus garnered first-team all-state recognition in Class 3A after averaging 21 points, 12 rebounds, and seven blocks.
Northwestern, Penn State and VCU were also recruiting Maceo Austin. He’s a 6-foot-4 guard from Mercer County basketball power Kennedy Catholic.
The Atlantic League All-Star game used robot umpires to call balls and strikes.
Or “TrackMan” if you want to be more specific.
Here’s how it looked.
— Rob Rose (@RobRoseSports) July 10, 2019
According to ESPN.com, “umpire Brian deBrauwere wore an earpiece connected to an iPhone in his pocket and relayed the call upon receiving it from a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar.”
Players seemed to notice the natural delay in the call. “One time I already had caught the ball back from the catcher, and he signaled strike,” said pitcher Daryl Thompson.
The umpire has veto power in case the system completely misses a call. The pitchers were quoted as saying high strikes were called far more often with the TrackMan system in place.
It’s going to be implemented leaguewide over the next few weeks.