Here’s a few Hot Stove items of note as we eagerly await 12:01 am on Friday:
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com thinks that if the Tigers aim to cut payroll, they should consider trading Miguel
Cabrera to the Red Sox. Likewise, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks Cabrera should be on Boston’s short-list of possible middle-of-the-order bats. Cabrera, 26, is owed $126 million over the next six seasons.
– Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes that the Phillies reportedly have interest in Fernando Rodney, but he might not be an option since he will want to close. In a related story, Brad Lidge “should be ready at or near the very beginning of spring training” following elbow surgery, says his agent Rex Gary.
– Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that the Pirates won’t be major players in free agency yet again,
but they could have interest in lower-tier free agents like Rick
Ankiel, Jamey Wright, Mark Hendrickson and Japanese pitcher Ryota
– Roch Kubato of the MASNSports.com wonders if the Orioles will consider signing Braden Looper, Jon Garland or Matt Treanor since the club was connected to them last winter.
– Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News takes a look some of the top set-up men available on the free agent market, and how arbitration and draft pick compensation may impact where they end up.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.