It's unclear where Carlos Gomez and Ian Desmond will sign this offseason, but Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Adrian Beltre will all be back in Texas, so Gallo would have a much better shot at seeing regular at-bats at first base than in the corner outfield spots or third base. However, regardless of how competent he is at any number of positions, the only thing that really matters for Gallo is that he cuts down on his strikeouts in 2017. If he does that, he has enough power in his bat that the Rangers will gladly find a place for him to play every day.
Beltran will turn 40 years old soon after the 2017 season kicks off, so it would not have come as a major surprise if he decided to hang up the cleats this offseason. However, he posted an .850 OPS over 151 games in 2016, leaving no doubt that he still has the skills to compete -- and do so at a high level -- against MLB pitching. Beltran will be a free agent, so it remains to be seen which uniform he will wear next year.
In shades of the AL Wild Card Game, Encarnacion unloaded on an 0-1 pitch from Colby Lewis during the bottom of the first inning and sent it over the wall in left field. Encarnacion is now third all-time in franchise history with four postseason home runs, trailing only Joe Carter and Jose Bautista, who each have six. The slugger is absolutely destroying the ball through the first four playoff games of 2016, going 6-for-16 with three walks, three homers, seven RBI and five runs.
It's not a surprise that he was left off the ALDS roster, as he has not shown the ability to reliably make contact in a key pinch hitting situation and would not be given any starts in the field. While it's not clear whether Gallo is headed to Arizona to play in the Arizona Fall League or simply headed to the Rangers complex to get some work in, it's good to hear that he will continue to get reps during the offseason, as his approach (34.6 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A) still needs a lot of work.
After a slow start, Morales rebounded to hit 30 homers in 2016, his highest total since he swatted 34 long balls in 2009 for the Angels. Overall, his line slipped to .263/.327/.468 in 2016 from .290/.362/.485 in 2015. At age-33, it's easy to wonder if there will be a long list of American League teams willing to offer up a multi-year deal if Morales becomes a free agent, but he's likely to receive a raise next season whether it's with Kansas City or elsewhere.
With the Astros eliminated from the playoffs, manager A.J. Hinch grant some rest to a few key players during the regular season finale, including Gattis, Carlos Correa, Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman. Gattis parlayed a hot September into arguably the best offensive season of his career, batting .251 with 32 homers and 72 RBI across 499 plate appearances.
Alvarez will be on the bench for the fifth game in a row while the Orioles look to make outfield defense a greater priority by moving Mark Trumbo to DH to clear room for the speedier Michael Bourn in right field. A .208 average and three homers over 59 plate appearances since the start of September hasn't helped Alvarez's argument for a regular lineup spot.
Cruz has been unstoppable at the plate recently. Over the last seven games, he's posted an incredible .345/.406/.759 line and hit four home runs. However, he'll head to the bench Sunday while Robinson Cano serves as Seattle's DH.
The Tigers will deploy another lineup without Martinez, as they're playing in a National League stadium and are without a DH. However, the possibility exists that he could appear as a pinch-hitter, which he did in Saturday's outing.
Friday's win secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and several Rangers veterans are being rewarded with a day off. Beltran hit .304/.360/.511 in September, and with a homer Friday, he's just one shy of 30 for the season.