General manager Chris Antonetti said yesterday that the Indians have Travis Hafner in their plans for 2012 despite the oft-injured designated hitter missing 70 games with shoulder and foot problems.
That isn’t a surprise, as Hafner is under contract for $13 million in 2012 and remains plenty productive when healthy enough to play, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that “they could cut the cord on the biggest deal in Indians history and start over at DH.”
They’re paying him that money either way, and having him around as even a part-time bat is plenty useful considering Hafner hit .280 with 13 homers, 16 doubles, and an .811 OPS in 94 games. His contract has been a huge bust and Hafner can’t be counted on to play even 100 games at this point, but he led the team in OPS.
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.