Matt Holliday is still bothered by the inflamed tendon in his right hand, but the Cardinals outfielder tested the injury during batting practice this afternoon and has decided to play tonight against the Phillies.
Holliday told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he took “a numbing agent … like a dentist gives” in order to play through the pain and is “good enough to help the team in some way.”
Holliday was out of the lineup for the first three games of the NLDS and struck out as a pinch-hitter in Game 1. His return means Skip Schumaker will start at second base, with Ryan Theriot moving to the bench. It also means Allen Craig will be on the bench after playing so well whenever he’s gotten an opportunity this season, which is why letting a banged-up Holliday talk his way into the lineup is a risk for manager Tony La Russa.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.