It’s not nice to horde all the good things in the world, so kudos to the Braves for selflessly allowing all the other baseball teams the opportunity to have Kyle Fanrsworth and Rick Ankiel on their roster by declining to exercise their options. Don’t cry for them, though: they each get six-figure buyouts, which is the closest anyone will ever get to stealing without breaking the law.
OK, I’ll try to be fair. Ankiel hit .261/.317/.467 in 92 at-bats for the Royals, and while that wasn’t worth the $3.5 million deal Kansas City inexplicably gave him before last season, it’s not utterly useless. He declined after the trade to Atlanta. Farnsworth had a similar season dynamic: useful — actually pretty darn useful with the Royals — and then falling off after being shipped to Atlanta. Overall he posted a a 61/19 K/BB ratio and a 3.34 ERA in 64 2/3 innings. Which should be enough to get him a job as a middle reliever someplace.
You just sort of hope that place isn’t near your team, though.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.