There’s a “very real” possibility slugger Kyle Schwarber will be able to contribute for the World Series-bound Cubs in their matchup with the Indians, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman. Schwarber has been out since early April after tearing the ACL and LCL in his left knee, but, as the Cubs were in the midst of defeating the Dodgers to clinch their first pennant since 1945, the 23-year-old returned to action Saturday in the Arizona Fall League. Schwarber accrued four plate appearances and said afterward that “it was overall a really great day for me” (via Jack Thompson of the Chicago Tribune). If Schwarber does return for the World Series, the player whom Cubs baseball president of baseball operations Theo Epstein deems a “special talent” could factor in as a DH and pinch-hitter.
More from Heyman:
- The Dodgers and soon-to-be free agent Justin Turner have mutual interest in renewing their relationship, according to Heyman, who notes that the third baseman’s age could prevent that from happening. The fact that Turner will turn 32 next month might cause the Dodgers to shy away from approaching or matching any mega-offers that come his way on the open market. Turner is in position to cash in on the heels of a three-year run in which he combined for 12.4 fWAR and slashed .296/.364/.492 in 1,383 plate appearances.
- As for another of the Dodgers’ key impending free agents, Kenley Jansen, the club will “make a nice attempt” to re-sign the closer, writes Heyman. The 29-year-old Jansen has been a premier reliever since debuting in 2010, so the Dodgers’ interest in keeping him is no surprise. He and fellow free agent-to-be Aroldis Chapman look primed to become the two highest-paid relievers in baseball history.
- Both Turner and Jansen will be among players landing $17.2MM qualifying offers after the season. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported earlier this month that Major League Baseball could introduce a new rule to preclude players from receiving a QO in consecutive offseasons. That now seems unlikely, though, as a source told Heyman there hasn’t been much discussion about it.
- The Tigers received calls on outfielder Justin Upton over the summer, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Saturday. Heyman contends that dealing Upton would be a “tall task,” pointing to the amount of capable right-handed hitters in the offseason’s class of free agents. There are other factors that could stand in the way, too, including Upton’s 20-team no-trade clause and his right to opt out of his contract after next season. Upton just finished the first season of the six-year, $132.75MM deal he signed with Detroit last winter. A torrid September helped prevent a disastrous year for Upton, whose overall output – .246/.310/.465, 1.4 fWAR over 626 PAs – was nonetheless disappointing.
- The Red Sox are seriously considering exercising their $13.5MM club option for 2017 on right-hander Clay Buchholz, per Heyman. The weak group of free agent starters could lead Boston to pick it up, as Heyman concurs with MLBTR’s Steve Adams that he’d potentially end up with a multiyear deal on the market. The 32-year-old Buchholz has been inconsistent during his Red Sox tenure, including a subpar 2016 spent both in the rotation and bullpen, though he was highly effective as recently as last season and could garner trade interest if the club retains his rights.