It’s Russell Martin Night here on Hardball Talk. Well, unofficially.
Martin has already drawn contract offers from the Red Sox and Yankees. Now the Blue Jays have also made an offer, according to Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, and a darkhorse team has sent in a multi-year proposal.
Martin hit just .248/.347/.342 this past year for the Dodgers, but he’s still relevant because of his past success. And because he’s claiming to be fully healed from the hip problems that have bugged him for close to two seasons.
The 27-year-old backstop was named an All-Star in 2007 and 2008, batting .286/.380/.432 with 32 total home runs, 156 RBI and 39 stolen bases over the course of those two seasons. If he can come even close to that kind of production next year, he’ll be worth the risk.
The Yankees reportedly have interest in making him their starter while Jesus Montero gets a little more time at Triple-A. If they really want to execute that plan, a two-year offer might have to be made.
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.