Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reports that Carlos Beltran plans to keep playing in 2017. He hopes for the Rangers, but if not, he’ll enter the free agent market.
Beltran will turn 40 next April, but he still hit .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and 93 RBI over 151 games between the Yankees and the Rangers, splitting time between the outfield and DH.
Someone will sign him, likely pretty quickly after he formally files for free agency as he is highly unlikely to receive a qualifying offer.
The Nats have the edge in the NLDS, but if they get past the Dodgers they may have to continue their World Series quest without Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg pitched a bullpen session yesterday but stopped it early after feeling some discomfort. Strasburg has been out since early September with a tear in the pronator tendon of his elbow so, presumably, it was his elbow that was barking.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker downplayed it all today, but the Nationals were hoping that Strasburg would be available to pitch if they reached the NLCS. Now that plan is in question.
I spent all morning talking about who should get the starting pitching nods for Game 4 between the Dodgers and the Nationals. Now we have an actual answer: Joe Ross of the Nats will face off against Clayton Kershaw.
With Kershaw, Dave Roberts is obviously thinking “go with my big guy today and worry about Game 5 on Thursday.” He’s also likely in receipt of a good report from Kershaw about how his back feels. The hope for the Dodgers is that Kershaw can go deep into this game, the back end of the bullpen can finish it off in one or two innings, and then Julio Urias and Rich Hill can tag-team Game 5 with whatever arm isn’t dead come Thursday. If Kershaw it knocked out quickly today, well, maybe all is lost anyway. Or maybe Urias can tag-team with him. That would make Game 5 a REAL mess, but that’s where we are.
As for the Nats, Max Scherzer is waiting for Game 5 regardless. Today it’s Ross, who is certainly well rested as he hasn’t appeared in a game since September 29. He was strong down the stretch after returning from a shoulder injury. The only question is whether he can handle the Dodgers’ left-handed bats (and the right-handed bats which struggle against lefties). If he can’t, Dusty Baker still has some lefties to go to in his pen.
Kershaw or no, the Nats are still pretty firmly in the drivers’ seat.