There was speculation that the White Sox would block the Indians’ attempt to reunite with Jim Thome by claiming him off waivers with their higher spot in line, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Thome indeed made it all the way to Cleveland on the waiver wire.
Rosenthal also reports that the White Sox ended up with the winning claim on Jason Kubel, so they simply decided to go after a different left-handed hitter from the middle of the Twins’ lineup.
Thome has a no-trade clause in his contract and Rosenthal notes that he’d prefer to join the Phillies for the stretch run, but the Indians are now the only team eligible to trade for the future Hall of Famer and could definitely use him with Travis Hafner potentially undergoing season-ending foot surgery.
Kubel being traded is far less likely, because as a Type B (and possibly Type A) free agent the Twins should be looking for a return package at least as valuable as the compensatory draft picks they’d receive if he left this offseason.
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.