Matt Holliday sat out Game 6 last night with a back injury and various reports had him doubtful to play Game 7, but the Cardinals left fielder is in the starting lineup tonight.
It’s possible he could be a last-minute scratch if pregame workouts don’t go well, but for now at least Holliday is playing left field and batting in his usual No. 3 spot between Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig.
Matt Carpenter started at first base in Holliday’s absence last night, with Allen Craig shifting to left field. Holliday has hit just .222 with one homer and a .597 OPS in 11 games this postseason.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.