[The Athletic] Ranking the Diamondbacks’ trade chips - 1. LHP Robbie Ray. The 27-year-old Ray has many things going for him that make him the most valuable trade piece the Diamondbacks have. He’s young, he has two years of control remaining, he throws 95 mph from the left side and he’s a starting pitcher who has performed at an elite level. Ray’s 2018 season was a step back, but he found his groove over the final month-plus and still has a 3.34 ERA since 2017. Unlike star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt — you can play only one first baseman — just about every team in baseball has a spot or would make a spot for Ray. He’s at least a No. 2 starter for all but a few teams in the game.
[dbacks.com] Hazen in wait-and-see mode on direction ahead - It's possible the D-backs could look to trade an established player for another established -- or near-established -- player that fills a hole on the roster. Or maybe it's trading a player and saving money on his salary to then use to fill one of the holes. "Maybe there are areas in organization that are a little stronger than others that we would have to pull from to fix some of the holes on the roster," Hazen said. "But none of that's been determined yet, because we don't know what the market is going to be for anything."
[dbacks.com] D-backs’ Mark OK after taking Vlad Jr. liner to head - D-backs prospect Tyler Mark walked off under his own power after being struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the third inning of an Arizona Fall League game on Wednesday night at Salt River Fields. On Thursday, Mark tweeted that “all is well” and thanked his fans for the texts, tweets and prayers. [Video below, via the Brute Squad: NSFW, language]
[Fancred Sports] Jon Heyman: Yankees expected to target Patrick Corbin - The Yankees are expected to target star lefthanded starting pitcher Patrick Corbin as a free agent this winter, sources said. Their own free agent J.A. Happ could be a consideration, as well, and longtime Yankees star CC Sabathia hasn’t necessarily been ruled out, either. Yankees people say they haven’t met yet to discuss the winter, but Corbin’s been an expected target for a while. It’s no wonder why he appeals to them; he’s lefthanded (as are Happ and Sabathia, their own free agent pitchers), he’s a strikeout pitcher (246, third most in the NL) and he’s improved the past couple years with greater use of his excellent slider plus he’s only 29, which makes him a half-decade or more younger than Happ or certainly Sabathia.
[The Athletic] Risky business: how a qualifying offer complicates matters for Pollock and the Diamondbacks - There is a relatively new provision attached to the qualifying offer, one that limits the number of times a player can be extended the QO. Prior to last winter, there was no limit to the number of times the QO could be offered and four players had received it more than once. Now, however, it can only be extended to a player one time during his career – meaning if the Diamondbacks extend the QO to Pollock following the World Series, as expected, he can never receive the offer again. Given that the QO actually serves as a threat to Pollock’s signing leverage because of the penalties incurred by a signing team, getting rid of it completely would open up his leverage greatly.
[MLB] Fun facts for each World Series matchup - We are exactly 12 days away from Game 1 of the 2018 World Series, and we know the matchup will be one of four possibilities: Brewers-Red Sox, Dodgers-Astros, Brewers-Astros or Dodgers-Red Sox. Each of these matchups will be fun -- it's the Fall Classic, after all -- but some of them are fascinating beyond the conventional matchup. Here's a look at three potentially enjoyable aspects of each of the four possible World Series combinations.
[The Ringer] The Biggest Problem With Bullpenning - The Yankees’ starting pitcher lasted only three innings, capping a series in which Yankees starters combined for only 13 innings—the second-lowest team total ever in a division series that lasted at least four games, trailing only the 11 ⅓ innings Red Sox starters mustered in their own losing effort last year. Yet the consensus after the ALDS said that Yankees manager Aaron Boone left his starters in too long—and the consensus was correct. That’s the latest indication of how quickly the evolution of pitcher usage is reducing the role of the starter, particularly in the postseason.
[ESPN] How did Christian Yelich get this good - Although the results of postseason awards voting won't be released until mid-November, the smart money says that Yelich will prove his Milwaukee mates prophetic in the end. As productive as Baez and Arenado were, as good as Matt Carpenter and Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rendon were, the growing consensus is not only that Yelich was better, he was at his best when it mattered most. And because of that, the Brewers -- who haven't lost a baseball game since the autumnal equinox -- are still alive and kicking as they prepare to battle the Dodgers for a trip to the World Series.