Skip to content

Joe Torre on instant replay: “it’s complicated”

Dec 11, 2013, 5:37 PM EDT

Ben Revere, Bob Davidson AP

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Joe Torre just addressed the media at the Winter Meetings to announce the latest developments on instant replay. The latest: not many developments.

Torre said that the matter was discussed at length with managers and general managers here this morning and that, while the league has given general approval of a challenge-based system like the one recently tested in the Arizona Fall League, there are still a number of issues that need to be finalized with respect to implementation. Torre said he is confident, however, that replay will be approved and in place for spring training and the 2014 season.

The challenge system — as opposed to any number of “eye in the sky” or fifth umpire-in-the-booth scenarios — seems unlikely to be changed, even if the specifics of what can and cannot be challenged are still in flux. A baseball source told me that there has been extensive discussion about something other than a challenge system, but that the consensus is still that a challenge system is still preferable. A big reason for this the time between the end of the play and initiation of the challenge. A manager may be expected to challenge swiftly, replay officials may deliberate more. During that deliberation a pitch may already be thrown.

One specific issue I and others have raised about a challenge system is what happens to umpire discretion on the so-called “neighborhood play” at second base, in which umpires — in the interest of fielder safety — will call a runner out even if the fielder doesn’t have a foot on the bag. I asked Torre if there has been discussion about what might happen to the neighborhood play if managers challenge the technical skirting of the rules about force outs. He immediately said “yes, lots of discussion.” I got the strong sense that that issue has taken up a lot of space and time in this whole story.

A person with knowledge of the managerial discussions told me after Torre’s comments that, at the moment, the idea is to make the neighborhood play non-challengable in the interests of fielder safety. Transfer plays, however — in which the fielder turning a double play may bobble the ball while retrieving it from his glove — will be reviewable.

None of this is perfect, obviously. But even a flawed system is preferable to one in which no replay is available. And, my personal criticisms and preference for a fifth umpire in the booth aside, it’s inevitable that whatever is ultimately implemented will improve with usage and practice. Put differently: it’s time for the discussion to end and time for replay to begin. the faster that happens, the quicker the debugging can happen.

Latest Posts
  1. After leaving Nationals, Bryan Minniti joins Diamondbacks as assistant general manager

    Oct 23, 2014, 9:58 PM EDT

    diamondbacks logo

    After stepping down as assistant general manager of the Nationals earlier this month, Bryan Minniti has accepted the same role with the Diamondbacks.

  2. Brandon Moss has hip surgery

    Oct 23, 2014, 8:57 PM EDT

    Brandon Moss AP

    Moss will use crutches for around four weeks and the expectation is that he’ll begin running in 12 weeks.

  3. Royals may bench Norichika Aoki for Game 3

    Oct 23, 2014, 8:16 PM EDT

    Division Series - Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Game One Getty Images

    Aoki’s defense has been an issue throughout the postseason, with Yost frequently taking him out late in games.

  4. Cubs shutting down prospect Addison Russell from Arizona Fall League

    Oct 23, 2014, 7:49 PM EDT

    cubs logo

    One of the game’s top shortstop prospects, Russell saw some time at second base in the Arizona Fall League.

  5. Tim Lincecum being sent for MRI for back/side issue

    Oct 23, 2014, 6:49 PM EDT

    Tim Lincecum AP AP

    Tim Lincecum is being sent for an MRI regarding the lower back/side issue which caused him to exit from Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

  6. Dave Magadan decides to stay with Rangers

    Oct 23, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    magadan getty Getty Images

    Dave Magadan surfaced as a candidate for hitting coach vacancies with the Yankees, Athletics, Red Sox, and Mets, but he’s sticking with the Rangers.

  7. Mets hire former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long

    Oct 23, 2014, 6:06 PM EDT

    Kevin long Getty Getty Images

    For the majority of Long’s tenure the Yankees had one of the elite offenses in baseball and overall from 2007-2014 they scored MLB’s second-most runs, but the lineup fell apart during the past two seasons due to aging and injuries.

  8. Phillies sign Grady Sizemore to one-year, $2 million deal

    Oct 23, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Grady Sizemore Getty Images

    Sizemore’s numbers in Philadelphia were nothing special and for the season overall he hit just .233 with five homers and a .654 OPS in 112 games.

  9. Craig Breslow expects Red Sox to decline 2015 option

    Oct 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    Craig Breslow Getty Getty Images

    Bad year at a bad time for the 33-year-old free agent.

  10. The World Series ratings are low. So what?

    Oct 23, 2014, 5:04 PM EDT

    old TV

    ‘Tis the season for concern trolling about World Series ratings.

  11. Blue Jays “willing to offer at least a three-year deal” to Melky Cabrera

    Oct 23, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Melky Cabrera AP

    That’s quite a change from last time Cabrera hit the open market, when he managed only a two-year, $16 million contract coming off a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

  12. Pirates sign Josh Stinson

    Oct 23, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Josh Stinson Orioles

    Stinson has had brief looks in the majors with the Orioles, Brewers, and Mets, combining to throw 52 innings with a 4.47 ERA in parts of four seasons.

  13. The Mets are interested in Michael Cuddyer

    Oct 23, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Michael Cuddyer Getty Getty Images

    He only played 49 games this season, but they were 49 pretty good games.

  14. Gold Glove finalists announced

    Oct 23, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

    gold glove award

    On your mark. Get set. Complain!

  15. The Brewers hire Darnell Coles as their hitting instructor

    Oct 23, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Brewers logo

    He previously managed in the Brewers’ minor league system.

  16. Blue Jays “getting a lot of interest” in Adam Lind

    Oct 23, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    adam lind getty Getty Images

    Will the Blue Jays trade Lind after he hit .321 this season?

  17. HBT Daily: Did Ned Yost outduel Bruce Bochy?

    Oct 23, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Division Series - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Kansas City Royals - Game Three Getty Images

    Or did the players actually have something to do with all of this?

Featured video

A managerial overanalysis epidemic
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. T. Lincecum (2702)
  2. M. Bumgarner (2701)
  3. J. Shields (2409)
  4. M. Morse (2247)
  5. Y. Cespedes (2009)
  1. T. Ishikawa (1670)
  2. B. Roberts (1468)
  3. U. Jimenez (1456)
  4. L. Cain (1418)
  5. H. Pence (1401)