We’ve been following Joe Posnanski’s week of Hall of Fame columns so far, so there’s no sense in stopping now. Today he discusses the Hall of Very Good players on the ballot. After his nice appreciations of Harold Baines and Don Mattingly — each of whom really should be appreciated, because they were darn good ballplayers — he gets to Jack Morris. Music to my ears:
The cases made for Morris have been, in my opinion, not particularly convincing or even intellectually honest … I guess my point here is to ask those people who think Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame to PLEASE make more appealing arguments.
Which is what I was getting at in yesterday’s post. You don’t have to drop your support for Jack Morris just because some statty people have poked holes in his Hall of Fame resume. But you do need to find a case that actually has a fact or two on its side rather than repeating the baloney that has been completely discredited.
Posnanski even takes a stab at a case for Morris, centered on the facts that he was durable and very good for a long time, even if he was never great. That’s something. It’s something that, historically, Morris supporters have dismissed when such a case was offered for other players such as Blyleven or Dwight Evans or Lou Whitaker, but there’s no rule that says they can’t change their mind on that stuff now.
But the Morris stuff isn’t even the best part of the column. That goes to Posnanski’s take on Lee Smith that, for reasons you should read yourself, make a damn apt comparison between Smith and former Chargers receiver Charlie Joiner of all people. It’s the kind of three-dimensional thinking and analysis that separates Posnanski from mere mortals. Great stuff.
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.