- Carlos Santana is highly likely to return to the Indians, per the report. His $12MM club option is a “no-brainer” for the club, a source says. The 30-year-old never seemed very likely to be allowed to test the market: he carries a .243/.353/.471 batting line with 31 long balls and has struck out only one time more than he has walked thus far in 2016.
The Twins view Indians assistant general manager Derek Falvey as a “strong candidate” for a front office job, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (links to Twitter). Indeed, he is said to be a finalist to join the Minnesota brass.
Falvey has worked for the Cleveland organization for eight years prior to this one. He received a promotion to the AGM level last October at just 32 years of age. That move up the ladder coincided with the rise of Chris Antonetti to president of baseball operations and Mike Chernoff to GM.
The Twins are said to be looking at employing both a PBOp and GM, and it isn’t immediately clear whether Falvey is under consideration for the top post in the Minnesota baseball ops hierarchy. While many organizations have taken to utilizing the title of president of baseball operations, it isn’t applied in a uniform manner. Still, it would be somewhat novel for an executive to take that title without first serving as a GM.
Regardless of the nomenclature, Falvey joints a still largely unknown group of names under consideration. The Twins interviewed Royals AGM JJ Picollo, and are said to have interest in Jason McLeod of the Cubs (among other young Chicago baseball ops personnel). But it’s not yet clear what other candidates can be considered finalists for a gig with the Twins.
The return of catcher Yan Gomes to the Indians’ roster looks to have hit a snag, as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Gomes was hit on the right wrist by a pitch in the fifth inning of his final rehab game at Double-A Akron last night. Hoynes further reports that Gomes will receive an MRI today to determine the extent of the damage done, though the team won’t have definitive results on the testing until tomorrow (links to Twitter). If he’s unable to return, the Indians will continue to rely on Roberto Perez and veteran Chris Gimenez behind the dish. That pairing has produced little in the way of offensive value on the season as a whole, but Perez’s bat has caught fire since late August; he’s slashing .306/.358/.531 with a pair of homers, three doubles and a triple in his past 55 plate appearances.
The Indians expect to welcome back catcher Yan Gomes on Friday, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports on Twitter. Gomes had been sidelined with a separated shoulder that was considered a threat to end his campaign, but it seems he’ll have a chance to come back online in advance of a likely postseason berth. That’s welcome news for Cleveland, which has struggled to find production from the catching position. Of course, Gomes himself has scuffled to a .165/.198/.313 batting line, but the club can at least hope he’ll return to providing quality glovework while hopefully swinging out of his malaise.
An MRI has revealed a mild strain of the flexor musculature in Danny Salazar’s right forearm, the Indians announced today. Salazar will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection tomorrow and be shut down from all throwing for 10 days thereafter. Cleveland’s announcement indicates that his projected recovery time is three to four weeks, effectively ending Salazar’s regular season. On the plus side, if he’s able to recover in the allotted time frame, he could rejoin the team’s postseason rotation.
While the news is certainly worse than the initial report that Salazar would miss one start due to the forearm issue, there were certainly more frightening potential outcomes for Cleveland. Salazar had Tommy John surgery while working his way up through the minors, but the examination of his forearm and elbow showed that his reconstructed ulnar collateral ligament remains intact.
Salazar, 26, has delivered another strong campaign for the Indians, working to a 3.87 earned run average with 10.6 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 47.8 percent ground-ball rate in 137 1/3 innings of work to his credit thus far. However, this isn’t the first brush with injury that he’s had in 2016, either; inflammation in Salazar’s right elbow cost him two weeks last month, and he’s now set to miss a wider slate of games than for his previous arm issue.
While Salazar’s injury calls into question whether he’d be able to take the ball in the ALDS — and with a seven-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central, it seems safe to assume that Cleveland will indeed find itself in that series — Cleveland can rely on Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco to serve as its one-two punch in that first postseason round. While it’s been an up-and-down season for the other members of the rotation, Trevor Bauer has looked plenty sharp over his past seven appearances (3.30 ERA) and could take the ball in Game 3 if Salazar is unable to return by that point.
Indians manager Terry Francona says righty Danny Salazar will travel to Cleveland tomorrow for followup testing for tightness in his forearm, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. Salazar is expected to miss at least one start. There’s no indication that the Indians plan to place him on the DL (and also no reason for them to hurry to such a determination, since rosters expanded last week).
Salazar left yesterday’s start against the Twins due to the condition. The team described Salazar’s departure as precautionary, but as MLBTR’s Steve Adams and Jeff Todd noted yesterday, this isn’t the first time this year Salazar has had arm trouble — he missed time in August due to elbow inflammation and also had minor elbow and shoulder issues earlier in the year.
There is currently no hint that Salazar is seriously hurt, but a bout of arm trouble for a pitcher of Salazar’s caliber is clearly worth monitoring, and losing Salazar for a significant period of time would be a significant blow to the Indians’ hopes of advancing in the playoffs. Salazar has used his mid-90s fastball and terrific changeup to strike out opposing batters at an outstanding rate of 10.6 batters per nine innings this season. Notably, though, he has struggled lately, with a 7.75 ERA over 38 1/3 innings since July 9.
- The Indians pulled Danny Salazar from tonight’s contest due to forearm tightness, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian was among those to tweet. The club emphasized that it was a precautionary move, but this isn’t the first time this year that forearm/elbow issues have sidelined the prized righty. He declined to speak to reporters after the game, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets, with manager Terry Francona saying that the team hopes to “know more tomorrow when he comes to the park.” Salazar lasted only four frames in his latest outing, and hasn’t reached six innings in a start since mid-July. The 26-year-old did manage to rack up 11 strikeouts in his prior appearance, but it has been quite an uneven second half for a pitcher who could be a key part of the club’s hopeful postseason run. Entering his first year of arbitration eligibility — he’ll qualify as a Super Two — Salazar has thrown 137 1/3 innings of 3.87 ERA ball, with 161 strikeouts but also 63 walks on his ledger.
- Outfielder Collin Cowgill has accepted an outright assignment with the Indians after clearing waivers, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports on Twitter. Designated for assignment yesterday, the 30-year-old will remain an option for Cleveland, particularly with rosters now expanded. He saw minimal time at the big league level this year, and struggled at Triple-A, but could still provide the club with a solid outfield glove and additional righty bench bat down the stretch — if the team deems it worthwhile to free up a 40-man spot. Over his 759 career plate appearances in the majors, Cowgill owns a .234/.297/.329 slash line with a dozen home runs and 14 steals.
- Mike Napoli, who is enjoying a rebound season at the plate with the Indians, has said he’d like to remain in Cleveland, though the two sides aren’t engaged in talks. Napoli’s defense and baserunning have torpedoed his WAR totals, but he’s batted a well-above-average .259/.345/.494 with 29 home runs in his first season with Cleveland. His bat should draw plenty of interest this winter despite the fact that he’ll turn 35 on Halloween.
The Indians have designated outfielder Collin Cowgill for assignment, the team announced as part of a series of roster moves. Cowgill’s roster spot will go to catcher Adam Moore, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland has also activated Danny Salazar from the paternity list, officially added Coco Crisp to the roster and recalled Cody Anderson, Joe Colon and Erik Gonzalez from Columbus.
Cowgill, 30, received just 14 plate appearances with the Indians this season and spent the bulk of the year in Columbus, where he batted .236/.310/.326 with four homers and seven steals in 392 plate appearances. He’s known primarily for his glovework but has nonetheless managed to rack up 759 plate appearances over the past six seasons, including 293 trips to the plate with the 2014 Angels. That year marked the best season of Cowgill’s career, as he batted .250/.330/.354 with solid defensive work in the outfield.
As for Moore, 32-year-old will return to Cleveland for his second stint with the Indians. Moore picked up just four PAs with Cleveland last season but has 287 Major League PAs under his belt. He’s batted a sub-par .201/.241/.309 in that time but has sound numbers in Triple-A: a .275/.334/.421 slash in parts of seven seasons. The former top prospect will serve as a third catcher for the time being, joining Chris Gimenez and Roberto Perez in that regard. Cleveland also hopes to get injured starter Yan Gomes back before the season is over.