UPDATE: Joel Sherman contradicts the Burkhardt report, saying that the Mets will not require a negotiating window with Lee if Mejia is involved in a deal.
9:07 A.M.: I said last week that I think the Mets are the frontrunners for Cliff Lee because (a) they have a top young pitcher they are willing to trade in Jenrry Mejia; and (b) they said that they wouldn’t require a window to negotiate a contract extension with Cliff Lee before trading for him. Now all of that seems to be complicated.
For one thing Mejia left his start for Double-A Binghamton yesterday because of an injury. “Shoulder stiffness” is what we’re hearing now. No other details yet and it’s entirely possible that it turns out to be nothing, but when you’re trying to trade a guy as a top prospect, the last thing you want is an injury.
The other complicating factor is that, according to Kevin Burkhardt, the Mets would in fact require a negotiating window with Lee if the player to be traded for him is, in fact, Mejia.
Other outlets are calling the Twins the frontrunners for Lee right now. It’s hard to truly handicap that in the absence of something credible regarding who Minnesota might be willing to offer for Lee and I haven’t seen anything like that yet. But if Mejia is hurt, and if the Mets are going to be more cautious about dealing him to begin with, I can’t really see any reason to stick with them as the frontrunners either.
And now that I put it like that, it’s almost as if all of this talk about the big fish at the trade deadline is, you know, speculation and stuff. And we’ve never ever had that happen before . . .
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
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.