Link-O-Rama: Angels juggling rotation to prep for playoffs

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* After clinching their third straight division title, the Angels scratched Scott Kazmir from last night’s start and have also bumped Jered Weaver from tonight’s scheduled outing. Matt Palmer will take Weaver’s place against the Rangers.
Lyle Spencer of MLB.com speculates that the Angels’ postseason rotation will have John Lackey in Game 1 followed by Weaver, Kazmir, and Joe Saunders, which would leave Ervin Santana in the bullpen despite hurling a complete-game shutout earlier this week to make him 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts since August 1.
* Alex Cora hit just .251/.320/.310 in 82 games before undergoing season-ending surgery on both thumbs, but Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are likely to re-sign the 33-year-old utility man.
* Andrew Baggarly does a very good job covering the Giants for the San Jose Mercury News, but his plan to give Jeremy Affeldt a 10th-place vote in the NL MVP balloting is the latest in a long line of things that make me care less and less about baseball’s season-ending awards.
* David Ortiz’s new restaurant isn’t getting glowing reviews, as the Boston Globe called Big Papi’s Grille “not very good” and “generic” while comparing it to “a midrange steakhouse in Applebee’s style architecture.”

CC Sabathia wants to return to the Yankees in 2018

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CC Sabathia‘s contract is set to expire this offseason, but for the long-tenured left-hander, nowhere feels more like home than New York. “I want to see this through,” Sabathia told reporters after a devastating Game 7 loss in the ALCS. “This is where I want to play.” Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman spoke warmly of the veteran starter, but would make no public guarantees that he’d return to the team next spring.

Sabathia, 37, just topped off his 17th season in the big leagues and his eighth career postseason run. He went 14-5 in 27 starts and put up a 3.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 148 2/3 innings, good for 1.9 fWAR. He looked solid in the playoffs, too, propelling the team to a much-needed win in Game 5 of the ALDS and returning in the Championship Series with six scoreless innings in Game 3. His season ended on a sour note during Game 7, however. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against a dynamic Astros’ offense, allowing one run on five hits and three walks and failing to record a single strikeout for the first time in 23 career postseason appearances.

Heading into the 2017 offseason, Sabathia finally arrived at the end of his seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees. While he’s repeatedly expressed a desire to keep pitching, despite rumors that his career might be on the rocks following the diagnosis of a troublesome degenerative knee condition, the decision isn’t his alone to make. Brian Cashman will also be seeking an extension with the Yankees this winter, so it’s difficult to say which impending free agents the club will try to retain — and Sabathia’s name isn’t the only one on that list. If it were up to skipper Joe Girardi, who is awaiting a decision on his own future with the organization, the decision would be a no-brainer. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for and the great player that he is, the great man that he is,” Girardi said. “The wonderful teammate that he is. How he pulls a team together. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you’re on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time.