Travis Wood had a 4.22 ERA through his first three seasons, but this season he’s taken a huge step forward with a 2.79 ERA and his first All-Star appearance. And now the 26-year-old left-hander would like to guarantee himself a nice payday while sticking with the Cubs long term.
Wood told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that he’s interested in following the footsteps of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro by signing a long-term contract extension with the Cubs, explaining: “I’d love to be a part of the core group and stay around Chicago for a while.”
To go in search of a long-term deal in the middle of a breakout season makes plenty of sense for Wood, but from the Cubs’ point of view he’s already under team control through 2016 anyway. Wood can’t become a free agent until he’s 30 years old and his secondary numbers this season don’t show the same type of dramatic improvement that his ERA does, so the Cubs probably aren’t in a big hurry.
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.