Edmonds should be threat to Hart, not Gomez

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Never finding the kind of deal he wanted, even after he hit .256/.369/.568 in an 85-game stint with the Cubs, Jim Edmonds sat out last season. Now that his itch to play again outweighs his pride, he’s accepted a minor league contract in an attempt to make the Brewers.
The initial thought will be that, by taking on Edmonds, the Brewers aren’t showing much faith in the newly acquired Carlos Gomez. After all, Gomez hit just .229/.287/.337 for the Twins last season, and he ended the year as a reserve. Gomez, though, has a huge defensive advantage over Edmonds, who wasn’t looking like much of a center fielder even while he was stinging in the ball in 2008. It’s doubtful that a year off made him any faster, and Edmonds would almost certainly be more useful in a corner than in center this season.
That brings us to Corey Hart. The Brewers resisted attempts to trade the 27-year-old right fielder over the winter, suggesting they still believe 2007 wasn’t an outlier. However, he’s posted OPSs of 759 and 753 the last two years since finishing at 892 in what might go down as his career season. Hart also has a significant platoon split over the course of his career. He’s hit .290/.358/.486 against lefties, versus .266/.312/.463 against righties. It’s not a bad line against righties — and it’s worth noting that he was actually better against righties than lefties last year — but there’s a good chance the left-handed-hitting Edmonds would beat it.
Odds are that Hart will get every chance to keep his job, and Edmonds may have an uphill battle to make the team, considering that the Brewers already have a left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder due $2 million this year in Jody Gerut. I think it’s a nice pickup for Milwaukee, though. The Brewers might well prove better off with a true platoon in right field.

Indians could benefit from long rest before the World Series

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 09: Danny Salazar #31 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on September 9, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.

Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.

Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.

The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.

Lloyd McClendon will return as Tigers’ hitting coach in 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 05:  Manager Lloyd McClendon #21 of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the six inning at O.co Coliseum on July 5, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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The Tigers will promoted Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon to hitting coach for the 2017 season, according to a statement released by the team on Friday afternoon.

McClendon’s history with the Tigers is long and storied. After serving five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ hitting coach and manager, he got his start with Detroit in 2006 as a bullpen coach, then transitioned to hitting coach from 2007 through 2013. When the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus to replace former manager Jim Leyland, McClendon took the opportunity to break from the team and pursue another managerial position of his own with the Seattle Mariners, whom he guided to a 163-161 record between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Following his departure from Seattle during the 2015 offseason, McClendon took a spot as skipper of the Tigers’ Triple-A club, managing the Toledo Mud Hens to a 68-76 finish in 2016. His return to the big league stage is accompanied by the hiring of assistant hitting coach Leon Durham, who previously served as the long-tenured hitting coach for Triple-A Toledo.