The Mets rode a big night from Daniel Murphy, a gutty performance from Jacob deGrom and strong relief work from Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia to an NLDS victory over the Dodgers tonight. Here’s the latest from the Senior Circuit as the Mets celebrate their first NLCS appearance since 2006…
- Addison Russell has been ruled out for the NLCS, as MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat writes. Russell, who suffered a mild hamstring strain when running out a triple in the NLDS, will be replaced by Javier Baez as the Cubs’ starting shortstop for the League Championship Series. Russell could be ready for the World Series, should the Cubs advance that far, and the Cubs are still deciding who to add to the NLCS roster to replace him. Muskat notes that one option is outfielder Quintin Berry, whose blistering speed would be a late-game asset and potential difference-maker for manager Joe Maddon in close games.
- Cody Asche might be running out of time to prove himself with the Phillies, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Already forced to the outfield to make way for budding star Maikel Franco, Asche now sees the outfield picture growing a bit more crowded. Odubel Herrera has claimed the center field job, and Aaron Altherr’s strong play earned him a look in a corner. The Phillies will likely sign a veteran outfielder this winter, be it Jeff Francoeur or someone new, and top prospects Nick Williams and Roman Quinn will open next season at Triple-A. Asche, who hit .245/.294/.395 with a dozen homers this season, admits that he isn’t quite sure where he stands heading into spring training. “That’s the unanswered question,” he tells Zolecki. “I really think the answer lies within myself, and how I come out and play in Spring Training. It’s up to me to take advantage and force my way back into the lineup.”
- Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tackles a number of offseason topics in his latest mailbag column, including the possibility of a Carlos Gonzalez trade. Asked if the Rockies could move the remaining money on Jose Reyes’ deal by packaging him with CarGo, Saunders points out that doing so would require an acquiring club to take on $81MM over the next two seasons. The Rockies’ best hope at moving Reyes, he writes, is to eat a large chunk of his salary, but owner Dick Monfort doesn’t typically operate that way. Saunders also writes that he believes Tom Murphy will back up Nick Hundley next season before inheriting the starting role in 2017, at which point Murphy and Dustin Garneau could comprise Colorado’s catching tandem.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak will look for an upgrade over backup infielder Pete Kozma this winter, writes MLB.com’s Jen Langosch. As Langosch writes, manager Mike Matheny was hesitant to insert Kozma — an excellent fielder but very weak hitter — into the lineup over either Jhonny Peralta or Kolten Wong, possibly leading to each wearing down this year. Mozeliak will also look for more depth on the pitching staff, though he’s content with the internal starting options he has on the roster. Per Langosch, there will be “a shakeup” in the bullpen this winter, however.