My first thought when I saw that the Giants were unloading Bengie Molina on the Rangers last night: Wow, if the Mets had only gone multiple years and, like, ten million bucks, he could have been theirs! My next thought: this works for everyone involved.
The Giants needed to find a permanent home for Buster Posey. They also needed to find a more comfortable home for Aubrey Huff. Now the former can catch, where his bat is more valuable and the latter can play first base where his glove is less vulnerable. Molina wasn’t hitting to save his life, so this is addition by subtraction as well, and now the Giants can pursue first base and/or left field options if they want to add a much-needed bat.
For the Rangers this makes sense too, if only because they are one of the few teams for which Molina represents an offensive upgrade behind the plate. The Rangers once were so rich in catching talent that there were rumors of the Red Sox shopping Clay Buchholz to Texas to get in on some of that, but for the past year it’s been a nightmare behind the plate. At least now can pencil in Molina behind the plate in the 9th spot of the order and be done fretting about it.
The Chris Ray-to-the-Giants portion of this trade is gravy. With him leaving, and a bunch of cash coming back to Texas, the deal helps the strapped Rangers take on Molina’s salary. This morning Buster Olney tweeted that this could be a model for a more significant trade by the Rangers inasmuch as, if they send a big ugly contract like Rich Harden plus some added sweetener in the form of better prospects to, say, Seattle, they could still get someone like Cliff Lee.
Makes sense, though in the long term it kinda stinks for Rangers fans that the team has to overpay in terms of prospects simply because the guys in the suits couldn’t get their business and legal house in order fast enough. But such is the way of the world.
In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.
In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.
Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.
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.