Brandon Phillips sat out yesterday’s game with a sore hamstring, but still had plenty of reason to celebrate after signing a six-year, $72.5 million million contract extension with the Reds earlier in the day.
Here’s some of what an emotional Phillips said at the press conference announcing the deal:
I cried about this. This is where I wanted to be. I talked to my agents and I kept on telling them please, please make it happen. This is the best day of my life, man. …
I was like, “Mom, what should I do? The fans love me here, I love it here, this is where I wanted to be.” She was like, “Just go where your heart is.” I really didn’t want to be a free agent, regardless of what all the other guys were getting. To play in the city that I really love … I feel like this is home.
And of course $72.5 million and a deal that will be paying him $14 million as a 36-year-old also didn’t hurt.
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.