Now that the Cliff Lee shoe has dropped, everyone is looking at cheaper, less-already-signed-by-other-teams-this-winter pitchers. Jon Paul Morosi reports that one of the more sought-after of that breed is the Indians’ Fausto Carmona:
One major-league source with close knowledge of Carmona’s market said the Indians aren’t eager to move him but are in a “listen and explore” mode because of the heavy interest following the Cliff Lee signing.
Carmona had that monster 2007 and then spent two years in the woods. It was a nice quiet bounce back season last year, however, in that he reduced his walks and allowed fewer homers than he had in previous seasons.
Still, I have a hard time seeing Cleveland giving up Carmona given that he has a pretty team-friendly contract (he’s owed $6.1 million next year and has team options for $7 million, $9 million and $12 million in 2012-14). It’s probably too much to expect that he’ll return to 2007 form, but even if he just builds on what he did last season in a modest fashion, he’s pretty valuable and is worth having around for at least the next three years, and maybe even that third option year.
But yeah: I totally see why he would be sought-after by someone looking for starting pitching.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.