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Dave Roberts Wins 2016 NL Manager of the Year Award: Voting Results and Comments

The San Diego Padres didn’t think Dave Roberts was good enough to be their manager. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a godsend for one of their bitter rivals.

Roberts took home his first NL Manager of the Year Award on Tuesday, besting Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon and Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals. He actually took the Dodgers to one fewer win than 2015 but got them to the NLCS and overcame a slew of in-season injuries and disappointments.

MLB shared the news:

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America shared the full voting results:

Ace Clayton Kershaw was limited to 21 starts after spending two months on the disabled list, and the team lost second-in-command Zack Greinke in free agency. Outfielder Yasiel Puig spent time in the minors due to his struggles on and off the field, while the team became jarringly reliant on aging players like Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley.

Despite things seemingly crumbling, Roberts never panicked. He kept the ship afloat amid midseason turmoil, and management helped things along by acquiring outfielder Josh Reddick and pitcher Rich Hill.

Players in the clubhouse credited him with never allowing any potential issues to fester.

“His ability to address things immediately is what sets him apart from most guys,” third baseman Justin Turner said in August, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. “When issues come up, he addresses it right away. He nips it in the bud and doesn’t let it linger. When you do that, it kind of eliminates the small groups and cliques talking about this and that.”

The Dodgers continued to prove hiring Roberts was a smart choice with their play in the postseason, as he helped guide the team to an NLDS comeback win over Washington. The Nationals got out to a 2-1 lead, but Roberts pulled the right strings at the right time.

Making things all the more special: Roberts is the first Dodgers manager to win this award since Tommy Lasorda. The legendary skipper won the NL’s inaugural Manager of the Year trophy in 1983 and added another to his mantle in 1988.

Dodgers nation will have their fingers crossed that Roberts can have a career half as long and successful going forward.

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Rich Hill: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Free-Agent SP

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that the team plans on reaching out to free-agent pitcher Rich Hill.

Continue for updates.

Yankees Interested in Hill

Tuesday, Nov. 8 

Brendan Kuty of noted that while Cashman is interested in Hill, he is just one of many free agents with whom the Yankees plan on meeting.

Hill, 36, is considered by most as the top starting pitcher on the open market. He went 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA and 1.00 WHIP last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. 

That marked by far the best performance of Hill’s career. An oft-injured journeyman who could never string together consecutive good seasons, Hill ascended to late-prime stardom during a short stint with the Boston Red Sox in 2015 and carried it over to last season.

Blister issues limited him to 20 starts and often kept his appearances relatively short, but Hill was one of baseball’s most effective pitchers in 2016. He struck out 10.52 batters per nine innings while only walking 2.69, setting a number of full-season career bests in the process.

Hill previously pitched for the Yankees in 2014, posting a 1.69 ERA in 14 appearances as a left-handed relief specialist. Many former teammates have vouched for Hill’s work ethic after he bounced back from a career that seemed dead in the water.

“He’s definitely a young 36-year-old,” free-agent designated hitter Billy Butler, then with the Yankees, told Kuty in October. “He’s definitely going to be one of the top free-agent arms and a great addition to any team—especially a playoff team.”

Hill has only thrown 610.1 major league innings. Sonny Gray, nine years Hill’s junior, has only thrown 2.1 fewer innings. 

While we’re not accounting for minor league stints, Hill is a relatively fresh 36-year-old. He’s also got a significant history of arm issues and missed 12-13 starts during his best career year. This isn’t some slam-dunk guy you throw the farm at.

If Hill signs a two- or three-year deal, then odds are everything will be fine. If offers start reaching past his 40th birthday, though, the Yankees and every other team might want to back off. 


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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Cubs Parade 2016: TV Schedule, Start Time and Live Stream for Celebration

With the streets of Chicago still in a state of ruin after the Cubs broke a century-long World Series drought, it’s time to do it all over again.

The Cubs will host their first-ever World Series celebration Friday, mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement released less than 24 hours after the team’s thrilling Game 7 win over the Cleveland Indians. 

“The city of Chicago could not be more proud of the Cubs, and we are going to throw them—and their fans— a celebration worthy of the history the team made last night,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Twenty-sixteen is the year for the Cubs and the generations of fans who have been waiting to the fly the World Series W. Go Cubs go!”

Michael Arndt of Crain’s Chicago Business provided a look at the parade route:

The parade begins at 12 p.m. ET, but coverage will be ongoing throughout the day. CSN Chicago will begin coverage at 10 a.m. ET, and the website will also be live streaming it. MLB Network will also be providing coverage.   

The Cubs finished the job in an all-time classic Game 7, which nearly saw them add another soul-crushing heartbreak to the ever-growing list. Ahead 5-1 going into the bottom of the fifth and 6-3 in the eighth, a pair of manager Joe Maddon pitching changes nearly altered history forever.

First, Maddon removed starter Kyle Hendricks after 4.2 innings despite stellar work in favor of Jon Lester. Hendricks had given up a weak single with two outs, but Maddon decided it was a better idea to pitch Lester—a bonafide ace who just so happens to have a major case of the yips with runners on base. 

The Indians would score two runs in the inning to make it 5-3, thanks to a pair of ugly plays by the Chicago battery. First, catcher David Ross flung a ball into the stands on a Jason Kipnis infield single. Lester followed that by bouncing a pitch off Ross’ helmet, scoring two runs on the wild throw.

Lester settled down afterward, making Maddon‘s decision to pull him with two outs in the eighth inning in favor of Aroldis Chapman all the more unsettling. Chapman, who rarely threw more than one inning during the regular season, had just thrown 20 pitches a night before in what many thought was an unnecessary situation.

It was obvious from the outset Chapman did not have his best stuff. He gave up an RBI double to Brandon Guyer and then a two-run home run to Rajai Davis to tie things up at 6-6. 

But this Cubs team did not collapse. World Series MVP Ben Zobrist clinched those honors with an RBI double in the top of the 10th inning and Miguel Montero followed him with a single, pushing the Cubs to an 8-7 victory.

“I mean, Chappy, he’s our guy in that moment,” Maddon told reporters. “We narrowed it down to four outs. The Cubs beat up on [Indians relief specialist Andrew] Miller tonight and got to their other guys because the Cubs are good. The Indians beat up on Chapman because the Indians are good. So that’s part of the game.”

Of course, that’s easy to say now after hours of guzzling champagne and preparing for a parade. Had things gone a little differently, Maddon‘s decisions would have gone down as perhaps the worst managerial stretch in MLB history. He would have joined the billy goat, Steve Bartman and the black cat.

Instead, come noon this Friday, it’ll be time for him to celebrate in front of a city that has waited generations for this to happen. 

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Dexter Fowler Declines Contract Option: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

In February, outfielder Dexter Fowler surprised everyone—including his own teammates—by re-upping with the Chicago Cubs on a one-year deal. Suffice it to say he’ll be looking for long-term security this time around.

Fowler plans to decline his mutual option with the Cubs for 2017, making him an unrestricted free agent.

“I’m definitely going to be a free agent, but hopefully it happens a little bit quicker than last year,” Fowler said on SportsCenter on Thursday (via “You can’t control what goes on, but I loved my time in Chicago and I’m definitely not counting them out, but we’ll see what God has planned for us now.”

The 30-year-old hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in 125 contests this season. He was also instrumental in helping the Cubs win their first championship since 1908, belting the first Game 7 leadoff home run in World Series history Wednesday.

“We would not be in this position without him,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said during the National League Championship Series, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “Go back to spring training, and even prior to that where we were trying to put this thing together, and I was on the phone a lot with [president of baseball operations Theo Epstein] and [general manager Jed Hoyer] regarding the composition.”

Many expected Fowler to leave Chicago a year ago. He hit the free-agent market after a solid first season with the Cubs, hitting 17 homers and stealing 20 bases while drawing 84 walks early in the order. While his average dipped to a career-worst .250, it seemed inevitable he would find a long-term contract in free agency.

Instead, the market dried up quicker than most expected and left Fowler hanging as spring training approached. The Cubs pounced on a team-friendly one-year deal, which paid Fowler $13 million after a buyout but offered a mutual option.

Fowler responded by putting together the best season of his career. His 4.7 wins above replacement were 1.4 greater than his previous career high, per FanGraphs. Having spent his first six MLB seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Fowler is a rare player who has improved his offense away from Coors Field.

Making things better was his sudden defensive improvement in 2016. Long considered a defensive minus in the outfield, Fowler put up positive stats in nearly every metric—something he attributed to playing at a normal depth rather than shallow.

“I was thinking about it during the offseason,” he said, per Nightengale. “I came into spring training, actually walked into Joe’s office, and I said, ‘I got something for you guys.’ I’m going to play a little deeper this year. I want to play where everybody else is playing, and I think that will help me out.”

Fowler should not have any trouble finding a long-term deal this winter, but it’s unlikely to be with the Cubs. Albert Almora, the organization’s 22-year-old phenom, is champing at the bit to become the everyday center fielder in 2017. He looked solid in limited big league playing time last season, hitting .277, and even made the playoff roster.

Fowler will likely command a multiyear deal from a team looking for a reliable outfielder at the top of its lineup. If he’s still unsigned when camp gets ready to open next year, something will have gone wrong. 


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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Fernando Rodney’s Contract Option Declined by Marlins: Latest Details, Reaction

The Miami Marlins declined their team option on reliever Francisco Rodney, making him an unrestricted free agent. 

Craig Mish of SiriusXM relayed a report from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald which stated that Rodney was informed his option would not be picked up. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball confirmed the pitcher would not be brought back, noting that the buyout is $400,000.

Rodney, 39, could have earned up to $5 million with incentives, per Jackson. The veteran recorded 25 saves in 2016 while splitting time in Miami and San Diego, coming over in a midseason trade.

Borderline unhittable with the Padres, Rodney’s performance took a massive nosedive after coming to Miami. His ERA soared from 0.31 in San Diego to 5.89 in Miami, and he blew three of his 11 saves with the Marlins after converting his first 17. 

“I think closers are best when they’re not figured out,” Padres manager Andy Green told reporters in March. “He’s a difficult one to figure out that way. But he’s got a ton of personality, he’s got a ton of life, a ton of joy playing the game. It’s infectious.”

The Marlins traded pitching prospect Chris Paddack to San Diego in exchange for Rodney, so it was always expected they would retain him. They were initially on the hook for just $2 million in 2017, but Rodney reached performance and appearance numbers. It’s possible that extra $1.5 million in base salary tipped the scale. 

It’s the second straight season in which Rodney has had wildly disparate numbers in his two stops.

In 2015, he was consistently rocked as a member of the Seattle Mariners before finding his stuff with the Chicago Cubs. Rodney has always been a little inconsistent, so this falls in line with his career expectation. 

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World Series 2016: Top Stars, Stats and Highlights from Cubs vs. Indians

It’s unfair to question where the 2016 World Series ranks among the all-time greats. We’re still less than 24 hours removed. Only time and perspective will allow for a proper assessment.

But for the social media era? This thing took the cake and then some. Facebook and Twitter weren’t around for the 2004 Boston Red Sox; you couldn’t live-tweet the bloody sock game. Social media wasn’t even a construct when Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling helped the Arizona Diamondback shock the New York Yankees in 2001.

This was the first all-time classic to play itself out in real time, with fans and analysts reacting as the Chicago Cubs earned their first World Series championship since 1908. Everything about the series crested in perfect fashion. The Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit against a team from Cleveland. 

They did so in horrifyingly stressful fashion, doing almost everything they could to blow things up Wednesday night. Manager Joe Maddon may have never recovered if it weren’t for Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero putting the Cubs ahead for good in the 10th inning. His managerial strategy would have gone down as arguably the worst in baseball history.

And yet…here we are. The streets of Chicago are still in champagne-soaked shambles. Here’s a quick look at some of the stars who made this World Series what it was and highlights from Game 7. 


World Series Stars

1. Cubs OF Ben Zobrist

First-star honors obviously have to go to the man who broke the tie in the 10th inning and walked away as World Series MVP. Zobrist didn’t have much of an impact in his first four at-bats. He hadn’t struck out, but a lineout to center field to end the Cubs’ fifth-inning rally was his only solid contact.

Then, after watching the Indians intentionally walk Anthony Rizzo to get to him, Zobrist changed history. He finished the series hitting .357/.419/.500, driving in a pair of runs while having at least one hit in six of the seven games.

Maddon spoke of Zobrist‘s importance when talking to reporters (via the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Skrbina):

He sets examples for everybody’s at-bats. His at-bats are the most professional on a daily basis.

He’s among that elite group in all of professional baseball that, even if he’s not getting hits or if he’s in a slump, he’s still doing something to contribute to the offensive side just based on his at-bats, his willingness to accept walks, his good baserunning ability. All of that stuff, just by watching it, helps these other kids.

Zobrist‘s four-year, $56 million contract looks like one of the biggest bargains in baseball at the moment.


2. Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo

Through the first three games of the series, Rizzo was hitting .182 and looked to be near the top of the list of Cubs disappointments. But he pitched in a pair of multi-hit games and had at least one hit in each of the final six games of the series.

With Kyle Schwarber only intermittently available and Kris Bryant not picking things up until the final three-game stretch, it was Rizzo acting as the Cubs’ most reliable power bat. He recorded four extra-base hits and helped Bryant hoist their Game 6 victory on their backs, driving in a pair of runs and hitting his lone homer of the series.

Add in a keen eye at the dish, and Rizzo proved once again why he and Bryant are the bedrocks of this lineup for the foreseeable future.


3. Indians P Corey Kluber/Andrew Miller

While Game 7 wasn’t either of their best efforts, it’s impossible to write about this series or the 2016 playoffs without highlighting their contributions. Kluber was the saving grace of a depleted pitching staff all postseason long, winning Games 1 and 4 while giving up just one run over 12 innings.

The same stuff just wasn’t there with him pitching on short rest for the second straight outing. He missed a couple of spots, the Cubs made him pay and he ceded to Miller—a saving grace who himself couldn’t find his best stuff.

Miller was a deserving ALCS MVP who went his first 16 postseason innings without giving up a run, but he started showing the effects. He gave up a late home run in Cleveland’s Game 5 win and was rocked for two runs on four hits Wednesday. While Miller had a full three days off, he looked mortal for the first time all postseason.

Still, these guys deserve all the credit in the world for nearly hoisting the Indians to a World Series.


World Series Stats

7: Number of hits by Francisco Lindor in the first four games of the World Series.

1: Number of hits by Lindor in the final three games, including an 0-for-8 stretch in Games 6 and 7.

3-1: Cubs’ record with Kyle Schwarber in the starting lineup.

16: Kyle Schwarber hits in 44 career postseason at-bats (.364 average).

4: Times Aroldis Chapman went longer than one inning during the regular season.

4: Times Chapman went longer than one inning during the World Series.

A Boatload: Millions of dollars Chapman and Dexter Fowler made themselves this postseason. Chapman’s Game 7 struggles now fade to black rather than becoming his career-defining moment.

1: Player younger than Javier Baez to hit a home run in a winner-take-all World Series game, per ESPN Stats & Info. That player was Mickey Mantle.

4: Number of players who have won back-to-back World Series championships after switching leagues, per ESPN Stats & Info. Ben Zobrist, who was part of the Kansas City Royals last season, became the fourth Wednesday.

All of These Dope Andrew Miller Stats:


Game 7 Highlights

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Cubs vs. Indians: Game 7 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 World Series

There was the billy goat. Then there was the black cat. Then Steve Bartman. There was more than a century of gross mismanagement, poor ownership and heartbreak.

Then came president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. Then manager Joe Maddon. And then Wednesday night, Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero joined Chicago Cubs folklore by driving in a pair of runs in the top of the 10th inning to give their team a thrilling 8-7 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

In all, the Cubs hit three solo home runs on their way to their first World Series victory since 1908.

Left-hander Mike Montgomery recorded the game’s final out, which came only after Rajai Davis drove in a run to make one of the most captivating games in World Series history close again.

MLB captured the Cubs’ moment of triumph:

The Cubs broke the longest championship drought in MLB history but nearly broke the spirit of their fans in the process by exorcising their demons in the most excruciating way possible. 

First, they dug themselves a 3-1 hole and left themselves seemingly insurmountable odds at a comeback. No team in the past 30 years had won the Fall Classic after finding itself in that hole, and 1979 was the last time a team had won Games 6 and 7 on the road. Since MLB instituted the 2-3-2 format in 1925, only five teams had pulled off the comeback. 

For the game’s first half, the Cubs showed no signs of succumbing to the moment, holding a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Dexter Fowler did not waste any time at the top of the first, belting a leadoff home run over the center field fence on the game’s fourth pitch from Indians starter Corey Kluber.

It was the first-ever leadoff home run in a World Series Game 7. Jon Greenberg of The Athletic commented on the Cubs contingent in the Progressive Field crowd:

The Indians tied the game on a Carlos Santana single in the bottom of the third inning, but by the fourth, Chicago’s bats were ablaze.

Addison Russell and Willson Contreras drove in a pair of runs to put the Cubs up 3-1 before Baez and Anthony Rizzo made it 5-1 at the top of the fifth. Baez ran Kluber out of the game with a 408-foot home run over the right-center field fence, atoning for an error in the bottom of the third. 

ESPN Stats & Info passed along a historic number on the blast:

Kluber gave up four runs in four innings after giving up a lone run over 12 innings in Games 1 and 4.

The Indians then handed the ball to ace reliever Andrew Miller. The American League Championship Series MVP had been the bedrock of their bullpen all postseason, but he did not fare much better. The lefty walked Kris Bryant, and Rizzo scored him with a single.

ESPN The Magazine‘s Buster Olney had some lofty praise:

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was pitching well, and the path to victory looked clear: Give Hendricks one more inning, and then let Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman close things out.

Maddon did not see it that way and nearly became the modern face of Cubsian failure.

The manager, who received criticism for his handling of the Cubs bullpen in Game 6, pulled Hendricks in the fifth after he walked Carlos Santana. Lester, who was throwing on short rest, stepped in along with catcher David Ross.

Things went awry almost immediately, as Jason Kipnis made it to second after a throwing error by Ross. Then Lester’s wild pitch bounced off Ross’ helmet and allowed two Indians runners to score. Francisco Lindor struck out swinging to put an end to the inning.

At the top of the sixth, Ross temporarily halted the Indians’ momentum, blasting a 406-foot solo home run off Miller in Ross’ final MLB game. After going his first 16 postseason innings without giving up a single run, Miller coughed up three in his final 3.1—including two homers. 

Jordan Bastian of nonetheless highlighted Miller’s historic postseason:

Lester seemed to settle down after Ross’ home run, getting through the sixth and seventh without allowing a run. But Maddon was again quick to pull the proverbial trigger after Lester gave up an infield single with two outs in the eighth.          

Like in the fifth, Maddon’s decision blew up in his face. Chapman entered the game and immediately gave up an RBI double to Brandon Guyer prior to a game-tying two-run homer to Davis. The veteran has all of 55 home runs over his 11 seasons and hit it just barely over the left field fence to knot it up, via MLB on Twitter:

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted Chapman’s tired arm:

The social media wolves came out in full force:

The teams then endured a stress-inducing ninth inning, with the Cubs blowing a chance with a runner on third base and one out. Cleveland’s skies opened, causing a brief rain delay that seemingly gave the Cubs a moment to catch their collective breath.

Kyle Schwarber singled to start the 10th inning, and Rizzo got on via an intentional walk. That sequence set up Zobrist and Montero to play the heroes.

First, Zobrist hit an RBI double into the left field gap. Then, Cleveland intentionally walked Addison Russell, and Montero followed him with an RBI single that scored Rizzo.

Forced to go to his bullpen, Maddon handed the ball to Carl Edwards Jr., who recorded two outs before walking Guyer. Davis scored Guyer on a single, and Montgomery came in to close it out for Chicago. 

The Cubs’ win seemingly cements 2016 as the year of the 3-1 lead. Roughly four months ago, the city of Cleveland was basking in the glow of its own historic comeback—the Cavaliers were the first team in NBA Finals history to come back from such a deficit. LeBron James, J.R. Smith and members of the Cavs were even in attendance Wednesday.

Members of the Golden State Warriors took notice:

More than anything, though, this is the culmination of a journey many thought would never end. The ghosts of Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood can rest easy. Maddon even did his best Dusty Baker impersonation.

In the end, nothing—not mismanagement, not a torrential downpour, not Steve Bartman himself and not a dangerous Indians team—could stop the Cubs.

Postgame Reaction

Baez shared a look at the Commissioner’s Trophy on Instagram: 

Zobrist offered his thoughts, per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:

The Chicago Cubs posted a comment from Rizzo on Twitter:

Indians reliever Cody Allen offered his response, per Jordan Bastian of   


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MLB Rumors: Latest on Derek Holland and Brian McCann Trade Buzz

No matter what, the 2016 MLB season ends Wednesday. Either the Chicago Cubs will complete a historic comeback, or the Cleveland Indians will escape by the skin of their teeth and avoid a collapse.

Either way, the season’s over. Or the actual baseball season is over. If there is anything we know about sports in our 24/7 culture, it’s that they’re never really over. The actual sport merely paves the way for the hot-stove season, which has already been festering under the surface of a classic World Series.

Twenty-eight teams already finished their seasons. They’re making decisions about potential free agents, sending out nibbles on trades and even reconsidering how their organizations are structured.

For now, though, things remain largely dormant, as MLB typically discourages moves of any magnitude taking place during the Fall Classic. Here are a couple of players who have been making waves on the rumor mill while we await Game 7.


Rangers, Derek Holland to Part Ways Soon

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported that the Texas Rangers are looking to move pitcher Derek Holland. The veteran has an $11 million club option for 2017 and an $11.5 million option for 2018 remaining on his contract.

Appearing in only 22 games (20 starts), Holland went 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He has made just 37 starts over the last three seasons and has not thrown well since suffering a sprained shoulder early in the 2015 campaign.

The Rangers can buy their way out of their option for $1.5 million this offseason.’s T.R. Sullivan reported that the team has already informed Holland it will not pick up his option—meaning it’s a trade-or-bust scenario.

The Rangers will have to move quickly after the World Series to get something done. The guarantee date on Holland’s contract is likely in the days immediately after the Fall Classic’s conclusion; the Rangers would have to either pick up that $11 million on spec in hopes of making a trade or have something wrapped up and ready to go as soon as possible.

Given Holland’s injury history and lack of recent success, it’ll be interesting to see if any team even gives up a mid-tier prospect. Holland really has only two full seasons of good baseball under his belt, and the last one came in 2013. Plus, $11 million is a lot of money to pay for someone who might command half of that as a free agent.


Brian McCann Could Be on Houston’s Radar?

The New York Yankees quite clearly have their catcher of the future on the roster with Gary Sanchez. The slugger set all sorts of records during his short stint in the bigs this season, hitting 20 home runs and driving in 42 runs in 53 games.

Incumbent starter Brian McCann also posted 20 home runs and drove in 58 runs. That’s a pretty good season. McCann is also a good defender and has been for most of his career.

One problem: McCann put up his numbers in 130 games.

McCann spoke to reporters in August about Sanchez: 

Listen. He’s a stud. You know what I’m saying? It’s a time where he’s gonna play and he’s gonna play a lot.

He’s a future All-Star, year in and year out. There’s not many guys walking around with his talent. It’s gonna be nice to see him grow into that player. … I consider him one of the better, if not best, young catchers since I’ve been in the big leagues.

That sounds like a man who knows his job is being taken away. The Yankees have clearly made a concerted effort to build their roster around youth. They shipped out Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran for prospects and could look to do the same with more veterans this winter.

McCann’s contract contains a full no-trade clause, but he’s naturally the next potential guy on the move. Joel Sherman of the New York Post said to “keep an eye” on the Houston Astros regarding a potential McCann trade. The Astros will be looking to return to the playoffs after falling to third in the American League West.

Sherman noted that two-thirds of baseball could wind up targeting a catcher in one form or another. He also suggested that the Yankees could pick up a third of the tab owed to McCann in 2017 and 2018—$6 million per season—to help grease the wheels.

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World Series 2016: Latest Odds, Important Stats for Cubs vs. Indians

The Chicago Cubs apparently aren’t going out without a fight.

Behind a strong start from Jon Lester and a clutch performance from Aroldis Chapman out of the bullpen, the Cubs stayed alive with a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians in Sunday’s Game 5.

Lester gave up two runs over six innings, while Chapman threw a career-high 2.2 innings to close it out. The Cubs closer came in with the Indians threatening in the top of the seventh but got out of a jam and showed little signs of struggle despite throwing 42 pitches.

“A pretty gutsy performance there,” Kris Bryant told reporters regarding Chapman. “He just went out there and did his thing. That’s the reason right there why we got him.”

Bryant himself sparked the Cubs’ three-run fourth inning by hitting a solo home run. Addison Russell and David Ross drove in the final two runs for Chicago, which was shut out over the other eight innings.

The Cubs will nonetheless head back to Cleveland with a chance to pull off a historic comeback. Here’s a look at a few key stats heading into Game 6.



Those are the current betting odds for the Cubs at Odds Shark. The Indians are -230 to close it out in the next two games at home. 



The last 10 teams to pull ahead 3-1 in the World Series have gone on to win. While it wouldn’t be as unprecedented as a 3-1 comeback in the NBA Finals, the odds of a Cubs comeback are slim. 



The number of teams that have made a comeback from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series, per Dayn Perry of Five of those teams have pulled off the feat in the World Series. 



That’s the last year a team won a World Series after being down 3-1 while playing the final two games on the road. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ last championship came in one of those comebacks against the Baltimore Orioles.

Overall, six of 44 teams who faced 3-1 deficits in best-of-seven series have pulled off comebacks with the last two wins coming away from home.



The number of times the Indians have given up more than five runs in a game this postseason. The Cubs averaged roughly five runs per game during the regular season and have hit that mark five times already during these playoffs. They scored 23 runs in their final three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers after trailing 2-1 in the NLCS.


The number of hits by Bryant in this series. The Cubs aren’t pulling off this comeback if Bryant can’t find a rhythm. Hitting a homer in Game 5 was a start, but he had a hit in eight of 10 postseason games before the World Series. Bryant is the Cubs’ best player and most important bat; he has to return to form for them to have any chance.



Hits in eight at-bats for Kyle Schwarber, who will return to the lineup for Games 6 and 7 after being stapled to the bench because he was recovering from knee surgery. Schwarber should return to the designated hitter role he held for the first two games of the series, which saw him drive in a pair of runs in Chicago’s Game 2 victory.

The Cubs are arguably at more of an advantage on the road during this series than they are at home given Schwarber‘s presence.



Hits in 19 at-bats for Francisco Lindor, who is Corey Kluber’s best competition for series MVP at this point. The Indians shortstop has at least two hits in each of their three wins and just one in their two losses. 



Strikeouts in 28.2 innings this postseason for Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, the unstoppable back half of the Indians bullpen. Neither has been needed extensively during this series, so they should be fresh going into the final two games.

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World Series 2016: Odds and Predictions for Indians vs. Cubs Game 5

The Indians are on the precipice of the seemingly impossible: bringing a second championship to Cleveland in the span of four months.

(OK, Cleveland Monsters faithful—third championship to Cleveland.)

Behind some surprisingly brilliant pitching and clutch hitting, the Indians have taken each of the first two games in Chicago and can wrap up the 2016 World Series later Sunday night with a win in Game 5. The Indians will hand the ball to Trevor Bauer, the only Cleveland pitcher to take a loss so far in this series.

Bauer has had a difficult go during the playoffs, injuring his pinkie finger while fixing his custom drone and struggling with his effectiveness. He had trouble finding his location despite being give a clean bill of health in Game 2, and some fans have clamored for Bauer to be replaced by Ryan Merritt—the unlikely hero for Cleveland in the ALCS.

“Ryan did a really good job in his game in Toronto, but Trevor’s been a really good pitcher for us for four years,” Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters. “If we thought that the finger was getting in the way, I understand it. But he’s come so far and battled this thing so much that I think his better game is ahead of him.”

The Cubs will hand the ball to Jon Lester, who gave up three runs in 5.2 innings and took the loss in Game 1. The Indians had a field day running on Lester and will likely look to do the same Sunday. Throwing to first base has become a nonstarter for Lester, and the Cubs have to contend with his inability to check runners every start. 

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz spoke to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune about Lester’s issues:

It’s a sick feeling. No one wants to say the “y-word” [yips] or the “s-word” [shank] in golf. I’m not a believer that one day you wake up and mentally you can’t make a two-foot putt. You lose the mechanic, the feel and then your brain tells you that you have to fix it and think about it. And the more you think about it, the worse it gets. So I commend Jon. The Cubs have a plan.

Despite Lester’s struggles, the Cubs are heavy favorites for a win. Odds Shark has them listed at -210, and some sports books have them listed as -235—meaning you would have to spend $235 to have the chance to win $100.

“We’re confident, especially how we won in this very tough game,” Indians star Carlos Santana told reporters after Game 4. “Lester, he’s throwing very good baseball. He has experience in the World Series. … But we’re fine. We’ll worry about tomorrow and try to win the game.”

It seems unlikely that the Cubs would lose three straight home games, but they were heavy favorites coming into the series. Their bats have gone almost completely silent against an Indians rotation that looked like a weakness heading into the postseason. Kris Bryant has one hit the entire series, Addison Russell has just two and the Cubs lineup has been held to two or fewer runs in three of the four games.

“We’re all trying to hit a grand slam with nobody on,” catcher Miguel Montero said, per Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “It’s not gonna happen. We need to be a little more patient at the plate, play a little small ball. We’re all trying to hit the ball 110 miles an hour off the bat—no. We need to get a ground ball through the hole. Simple as that.”

Logic says the Cubs win. Bauer’s recent performance suggests the Cubs have a good shot. On paper, the Cubs should be on the precipice of pulling away with this series.

But they’re not. The Indians have defied logic the entire way to be within one game of taking home their first championship since 1947. Let’s just go with gut feelings and keep riding the wave.

Indians close it out later tonight.

Score prediction: Indians 4, Cubs 2

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