Red Sox should forgo Halladay for Holliday

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halladay throwing.jpgAfter all, it’s only money.
The addition of Roy Halladay to Boston’s already fine rotation would certainly provide a boost. Halladay is clearly one of the top five pitchers in baseball, and he’s about as much of a Yankee killer as anyone in the league, having gone 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA and seven complete games in 35 starts and two relief appearances against the Bombers.
But the price tag is simply too big. The Jays will demand at least two top youngsters as part of a deal. In Boston’s case, that will mean Clay Buchholz and perhaps Casey Kelly, their No. 1 prospect. It might be worth it if Halladay were underpaid, but the 32-year-old is just one year away from free agency, and he’s set to earn $15.7 million next season. He’ll almost surely demand a higher salary in 2011 and beyond as part of a contract extension.
Buchholz, on the other hand, will make less than $500,000 next season and is under control for five more years. He went 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 16 starts last season and impressed in his lone playoff start against the Angels. He has his quirks, for sure, but he also possesses a 92-95 mph fastball and an excellent changeup as part of a four-pitch arsenal. He’s poised to win 15 games for the Red Sox in 2010. Halladay might well win 20, but he’d eat up a significant chunk of the payroll in the process and cost Boston one or two more top youngsters.
That’s why it makes tons of sense to go after Matt Holliday instead. The only cost will be money. In fact, Boston would even pick up a draft pick in the process, since they’d lose a first-rounder for signing Holliday but gain two picks as a result of Jason Bay’s departure. Holiday is due about $20 million per year, which is probably close to what Halladay will want as part of an extension.
The Red Sox can afford that price tag and stay the course with a rotation that will include Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Buchholz and Tim Wakefield. The time for reevaluation will be in a year, when Halladay, Beckett, Cliff Lee and Brandon Webb are all set to become free agents.

The Mets are set to host the NL wild card game

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 01: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets is congratulated after hitting a two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on October 1, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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In the end, the Mets’ march into the playoffs played out just how they imagined: three innings of a Bartolo Colon perfecto, four combined innings of one-run ball from five different relievers, a James Loney home run. Well, maybe it looked a little different when they drew it up.

Colon guided the Mets through five innings for his 15th win of the year, striking out six and giving up a two-run homer in the fifth. Behind him, the Mets combined for five runs off of RBI base hits from T.J. Rivera and Jose Reyes, finding an edge with Loney’s go-ahead homer in the sixth and a bonus RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera in the ninth inning. Despite a pair of well-placed home runs by Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, the Phillies found themselves in scoring position just twice and were unable to close the two-run gap to tie the game.

The Mets’ 5-3 win over the Phillies clinched their spot in the postseason, sans tiebreaker. They also secured home-field advantage for Wednesday’s wild card game, during which they’ll face either the Cardinals or the Giants. On Friday, the wild card winner will advance to the Division Series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

As MLB.com’s Jeff Passan and Joe Trezza simultaneously pointed out, it will be an unconventional playoff run for the Mets, who approach October without Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Neil Walker, David Wright, Zack Wheeler, or Ben Zobrist. Now, if ever, seems like an appropriate time for some champagne.

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.