Ailing Sizemore finally calls it a year

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It was just a matter of when Grady Sizemore would undergo surgery on the elbow that’s bothered him for months. He’d indicated that he intended to finish the year and then undergo the procedure, and he likely would have followed through on that had the Indians been in contention. Of course, that hasn’t been the case for months.
As a result, he’s opted to shut it down now, even though he’s coming off his best month of the season. He hit .299/.385/.486 with four homers and 23 runs scored in 26 games during August. Overall, he was batting .248/.343/.445 in 436 at-bats. Especially after factoring in defense, he’s still been a fine regular for the Indians. However, he was down 70 points from his career OPS.
Replacing Sizemore will be Michael Brantley and Trevor Crowe. Brantley, as the better defensive center fielder, may have the edge when it comes to playing time, even after Crowe returns from his strained oblique. The 22-year-old Brantley, a product of the CC Sabathia trade with the Brewers, was a disappointment in Triple-A this year, coming in at .267/.350/.361 in 457 at-bats. However, he walked more often than he struck out (48/59 K/BB ratio) and he stole 46 bases in 51 attempts.
Crowe hit .297/.401/.400 in 185 at-bats for Columbus. He’s at .208/.271/.283 in 106 at-bats for the Indians. He’s three years older than Brantley, and the Indians really do need to find out whether he should be in their plans as more than a fourth outfielder going forward. He might be a reserve on next year’s club, particularly if Matt LaPorta remains primarily a left fielder. Brantley is too young for such a role and could well find himself beginning a second straight year in Triple-A in 2010.

Indians’ postseason rotation is still up in the air

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.

Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.

With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:

If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.

Matt Holliday wants to return in 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals after he hit a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.

It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.