We still have the remainder of the 2014 season to play, but Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago hears from a source that the White Sox will target Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez in free agency this winter.
Adam Dunn’s contract expires after this season and Paul Konerko is set to retire, so there will be an opening at the DH spot in Chicago. Cots Contracts notes that the White Sox currently have a little over $46 million in salary commitments (not counting raises in arbitration) for next season, so they could afford a big-ticket item, even though they don’t look like contenders in 2015 on the surface. The Tigers figure to make Martinez a qualifying offer at the very least, but assuming the White Sox finish with one of the 10-worst records in the majors (which they currently have), they would only have to surrender a second-round pick to sign him as opposed to a first-rounder.
Martinez turns 36 this winter, but he’s currently enjoying the best season of his 12-year major league career. He entered play this afternoon with a .328/.395/.553 batting line to go along with 26 home runs and 85 RBI and has only struck out 38 times in 522 plate appearances. Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote on Twitter earlier today that Martinez could get a contract in line with Carlos Beltran’s three-year, $45 million deal with the Yankees, but it’s easy to imagine him getting more.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs NLCS Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
We’re pulling out the big guns for this one. The Cubs took Los Angeles by storm again in Game 5, closing out their road trip with an eight-run spread over the Dodgers, and tonight they’ll try to clinch the NLCS on home turf in Game 6.
Pitching-wise, it’s a rematch of Game 2 with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on the mound. Kershaw took the first set against the Cubs, going seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Game 2 while Hendricks held the Dodgers to a single run over 5 1/3 innings. Adrian Gonzalez was the only Dodger to capitalize on Hendricks’ cutter, going yard in his first at-bat to generate a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs’ biggest strength so far this series has been an electric offense, something the Dodgers have struggled to replicate against left-hander Jon Lester and Joe Maddon’s airtight bullpen. While they’ve already beaten Hendricks at Wrigley Field once this October, they’ll need Kershaw to go the distance in another playoff gem if they intend to keep the Cubs’ championship hopes at bay with a 3.4-run average. Should Kershaw and his crew knot the series again, the tiebreaker will fall to Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.