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. Jacob deGrom to return to Mets’ rotation Saturday

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:15 PM EDT

    jacob degrom getty Getty Images

    Mets rookie right-hander Jacob deGrom threw all of his pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday in Oakland without experiencing any discomfort in his shoulder and has been cleared to return to the starting rotation Saturday night against the Dodgers.

  2. Nationals rout Diamondbacks for eighth straight win

    Aug 19, 2014, 10:22 PM EDT

    stephen strasburg getty Getty Images

    The Nationals are the hottest team in the majors. Stephen Strasburg yielded just three hits over eight inning of one-run ball and shortstop Ian Desmond went 3-for-4 with four RBI in an 8-1 stomping of the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

  3. Orioles demote Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen

    Aug 19, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    ubaldo jimenez getty Getty Images

    The Orioles’ four-year, $50 million deal with starter Ubaldo Jimenez is already looking like a disaster. Jimenez registered a 4.83 ERA and 1.55 WHIP over his first 20 outings this season and now MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli reports that the right-hander has been demoted to the bullpen for the stretch run.

  4. Tony La Russa denies that Kirk Gibson’s job is safe

    Aug 19, 2014, 8:41 PM EDT

    kirk gibson getty Getty Images

    USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Tuesday morning that the Diamondbacks “currently plan to bring back” manager Kirk Gibson next season. But the club’s new chief baseball officer — Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa — is now denying that anything has been decided on the Gibson front.

  5. Padres option Jesse Hahn to Double-A as part of designed plan to limit his innings total

    Aug 19, 2014, 7:57 PM EDT

    jesse hahn getty Getty Images

    Jesse Hahn has been optioned to the minor leagues as part of a planned-out strategy to limit the rookie’s innings total in 2014.

  6. Yadier Molina hopes to resume swinging this week

    Aug 19, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT

    yadier molina getty Getty Images

    Great news here for the second-place Cardinals. Injured catcher Yadier Molina told Jim Hayes of FOX Sports Midwest on Tuesday afternoon that he is hoping to be cleared to begin swinging a bat on Wednesday or Thursday.

  7. Kris Bryant doubles in return to lineup for AAA Iowa

    Aug 19, 2014, 6:14 PM EDT

    kris bryant getty Getty Images

    Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant sent a scare through the organization on Saturday when he had to leave a game at Triple-A Iowa with pain in his left big toe. But all is well with the budding superstar.

  8. Indians place Ryan Raburn on the disabled list

    Aug 19, 2014, 5:29 PM EDT

    Ryan Raburn AP

    Ryan Raburn’s disappointing season for the Indians now includes a trip to the disabled list with a sore right wrist.

  9. Cardinals place Mark Ellis on the disabled list

    Aug 19, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT

    Mark Ellis Cardinals Getty Images

    St. Louis infielder Mark Ellis is headed to the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle, which tends to sideline players for more than the minimum 15 days.

  10. Nate McLouth needs season-ending shoulder surgery

    Aug 19, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Nate McLouth Nationals Getty Images

    McLouth played just 79 games and hit .173 for the Nationals in the first season of a two-year, $10.75 million deal.

  11. Pirates activate Andrew McCutchen from the disabled list

    Aug 19, 2014, 3:28 PM EDT

    Andrew McCutchen AP

    McCutchen was having another MVP-caliber season at the time of the injury, ranking among the NL’s top five in batting average (.311), on-base percentage (.411), slugging percentage (.536), and OPS (.947).

  12. Yoenis Cespedes to the Oakland A’s: “I hope you win it all”

    Aug 19, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT

    Yoenis Cespedes AP

    Cespedes said he almost cried when he found out he was traded. But he wishes everyone the best.

  13. HBT Daily: They’ve dropped six straight, but the Pirates may be the Wild Card favorites

    Aug 19, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    The silly NL West wild card race may actually favor the team playing the worst baseball right now.

  14. Andrew Cashner tosses five innings in rehab start

    Aug 19, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT

    Andrew Cashner AP

    Before being shut down Cashner had a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts.

  15. The Indians sign Scott Atchison to a contract extension

    Aug 19, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT

    Cleveland Indians v Texas Rangers AP

    A small move for the Indians, but a nice move all the same.

  16. Adam Dunn may retire on the verge of 500-homer club

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Chicago White Sox Photo Day Getty Images

    “I’m not a 22-year-old single guy anymore. There are a lot of things that play into coming back and your decision.”

  17. The Diamondbacks plan to bring back Kirk Gibson for some reason

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

    Kirk Gibson AP

    Other than underachieving, alienating certain players and ordering pitchers to throw at guys, Gibson has been fantastic.

  18. Jeff Samardzija content he chose baseball over football

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Jeff Samardzija AP

    Baseball wound up the career path of choice for the A’s right-hander, but football will always be in Samardzija’s blood.

  19. The NL Wild Card race: less-than-inspiring

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

    B.J. Upton, Alan Porter AP

    But I suppose someone — two someones, actually — has to win this ugly thing.

  20. Mike Matheny on Michael Wacha’s bullpen session: “I was expecting less”

    Aug 19, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    Michael Wacha Getty Getty Images

    “It looked really close to what we normally would see when he’s out there.”

Featured video

Does anyone want to win the NL wild card?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Cuddyer (2872)
  2. R. Castillo (2627)
  3. J. Werth (2228)
  4. A. Garcia (2224)
  5. A. McCutchen (2143)
  1. C. Gonzalez (2094)
  2. W. Myers (2082)
  3. K. Bryant (2079)
  4. M. Fiers (2021)
  5. Y. Molina (1989)