Tom Hicks has been told by Major League Baseball that he needs to pick the winning bidder in the Rangers’ sale today and to commence negotiations to finalize a deal. No doubt today was picked as the deadline so that everyone can be free to celebrate my daughter’s sixth birthday later this evening.
Hicks may or may not meet that deadline the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports a source saying that it’s only 50-50 that he’ll pick today — but there is a clear front runner, at least on financial terms. It’s Houston businessman Jim Crane, whose bid is said to be higher than either Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg’s or former agent Dennis Gilbert’s.
The article notes, however, that Crane is not a popular figure in MLB circles because he once reneged on a deal to buy the Astros. Also working against him is the fact that Gilbert is said to be a favorite of Jerry Reinsdorf, which automatically makes him a favorite of Bud Selig’s. They’re a clannish bunch, those owners, and they like to reward their friends.
The lawyer and Tom Hicks-hater in me wants a low bid to win because if that happens maybe some investor in Hicks Sports Group will sue Hicks for breaching his fiduciary duties to the debt-addled company, which in turn will better expose the rampant cronyism that takes place in the franchise sale market. Plus, if Glibert wins, there are indications that hey’ll be baseball’s answer to Daniel Snyder, and that would be great fun for everyone except Rangers’ fans.
Likely? Nah. But a boy can dream, can’t he?
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.
Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.
Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.
It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”