A quick look around Major League Baseball, which is now down to nine teams vying for a World Series…
- With their season having ended earlier than expected, the Indians are now facing an important decision on star right-hander Corey Kluber, who has a $17.5MM club option (or a $1MM buyout) for 2020. As of Sunday, the club’s higher-ups and Kluber hadn’t discussed his future, he told Zack Meisel of The Athletic (subscription required). It’s hard to believe the Indians would buy Kluber out, though the two-time AL Cy Young winner is coming off an abbreviated season in which he struggled to a bloated 5.80 ERA (with a much better 4.06 FIP) in 35 2/3 innings. Kluber wasn’t able to make it back after suffering a right forearm fracture May 1, thereby ending a run of five straight seasons with 200-plus frames. Indians manager Terry Francona found a silver lining in Kluber’s truncated season and made it sound as if the longtime ace will stick with the club in 2020, saying: “Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise for next year. I mean, we leaned on him pretty heavy for six years.”
- The Dodgers re-signed first baseman David Freese for $4.5MM last offseason, though the veteran nearly retired after their World Series loss to the Red Sox, per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. In the end, however, the “deep mutual interest” Freese and the Dodgers had in a reunion won out, Castillo writes. “I came back because this was everything I wanted to be a part of. And it was worth another year to get up for 180 games and just get after it,” said Freese, who, as Castillo details, seems universally respected in the organization. It doesn’t hurt that the 36-year-old has thrived with the bat this season, having batted a spectacular .315/.403/.599 with 11 home runs in 186 plate appearances. The former World Series hero with the Cardinals will have another chance at a memorable October this year, though this postseason could prove to be the end of the line for Freese, Castillo suggests.
- It wouldn’t have been a surprise if the Phillies jettisoned maligned manager Gabe Kapler after their disappointing season ended Sunday. A couple days later, though, they still haven’t announced whether he’ll return for a third year. But it’s “likely” they’ll make Kapler’s fate known on Wednesday, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Kapler-led Phillies just concluded a second straight season in which a summer implosion canceled out a promising start. Philadelphia went 80-82 under Kapler in 2018, and despite an incredibly active offseason, the club only mustered an 81-81 mark this year.