Via MLB Trade Rumors, Jon Heyman was on the MLB Network last night and opined that despite some preliminary talks, the Brewers are not likely to be able to sign Prince Fielder to an extension and that the big man will be traded before he can become a free agent after the 2011 season. Ryan Howard’s $25 million/year contract is the culprit. Fielder is younger than Howard, would expect at least that much money over a longer period and that may simply be too rich for Milwaukee.
This isn’t necessarily a controversial position, as the Brewers were suspected to be thinking more along the lines of Mark Teixeira money (his contract tops out at $22.5 million a year). But as we all know, Heyman tends to know what’s happening with Scott Boras clients, which Prince Fielder is one, so the notion that the Brewers aren’t going to have enough money to keep Fielder may be a particularly informed bit of analysis.
It’s a bit premature to analyze Fielder’s worth on the free agent market like we all did with Howard this past week, but my gut feeling is that, yeah, he’s going to ask for and is probably worth Howard money, at least on a per annum basis. Contract length is going to be the real issue with him, and given his apparent future as a DH, you can figure that teams are going to loathe to go long with him.
The Brewers are 9-14 and aren’t playing inspired baseball. If I’m running that team and I think that Boras is going to use Howard’s deal as a starting point, I consider unloading him this year.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”