We now know the identity of the player to be named later going to the Royals. It’s exactly who we expected it to be.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel are all reporting that Jeremy Jeffress will go to the Royals to complete the trade for Zack Greinke. The deal will be officially announced later this afternoon.
Jeffress, 23, missed the beginning of the 2010 season while serving the end of a 100-game suspension for a second positive marijuana test, but posted a 2.23 ERA and 43/12 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings as a reliever between Single-A Wisconsin, High-A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville. The former 2006 first-round pick made his major league debut as a September call-up, posting a 2.70 ERA and 8/6 K/BB ratio over 10 innings. With a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s, some have called him a potential closer.
Now that we know Jeffress is definitely in the trade, it’s time to wonder if the Royals will soon be willing to part with Joakim Soria, as well. Soria, who turns 27 in May, is owed $4 million next season and has a series of club options from 2012-2014. It’s an affordable and flexible contract, so the Royals have no sense of urgency to deal him, but Jeffress at least gives them some insurance to begin listening.
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.