Last week was the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents. Today is the deadline for those so offered to accept or decline. Some already have done so (guys like Trevor Hoffman) and others have already signed free agent deals, mooting the issue (Victor Martinez). That leaves 12 type-A free agents and 11 type-B free agents who need to make up their minds before midnight.
The type As: Grant Balfour, Adrian Beltre, Carl Crawford, Scott Downs, Adam Dunn, Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carl Pavano, Rafael Soriano and Jayson Werth.
The type-Bs: Randy Choate, Jesse Crain, Pedro Feliciano, Brad Hawpe, Aaron Heilman, Orlando Hudson, Adam LaRoche, Felipe Lopez, Miguel Olivo, J.J. Putz and Chad Qualls.
There is always a surprise or two — Rafael Soriano unexpectedly accepted the Braves’ offer of arbitration last year — but I can’t really see any of the type-As other than Frank Francisco, who has already indicated that he’ll accept, taking arbitration. Maybe some type-Bs do, but their doing so won’t fundamentally alter the market or anything.
If anything strange does happen, however — like, say, Adam Dunn accepting — it will likely lead to fun trade speculation over the coming days, so let’s hope for the unexpected.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs NLCS Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
We’re pulling out the big guns for this one. The Cubs took Los Angeles by storm again in Game 5, closing out their road trip with an eight-run spread over the Dodgers, and tonight they’ll try to clinch the NLCS on home turf in Game 6.
Pitching-wise, it’s a rematch of Game 2 with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on the mound. Kershaw took the first set against the Cubs, going seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Game 2 while Hendricks held the Dodgers to a single run over 5 1/3 innings. Adrian Gonzalez was the only Dodger to capitalize on Hendricks’ cutter, going yard in his first at-bat to generate a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs’ biggest strength so far this series has been an electric offense, something the Dodgers have struggled to replicate against left-hander Jon Lester and Joe Maddon’s airtight bullpen. While they’ve already beaten Hendricks at Wrigley Field once this October, they’ll need Kershaw to go the distance in another playoff gem if they intend to keep the Cubs’ championship hopes at bay with a 3.4-run average. Should Kershaw and his crew knot the series again, the tiebreaker will fall to Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.