Derrek Lee rejected a trade to the Angels

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Earlier this afternoon Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reported that Derrek Lee would block any potential move by exercising the no-trade clause in his contract and now MLB.com has further details that he actually did reject a trade to the Angels.
Asked to comment on the report, Lee said: “There may be a time when I’m ready to talk about it, but not now.”
Lee has posted an OPS above .800 in 10 straight seasons, but the impending free agent in the final season of a five-year, $65 million deal is currently hitting just .248/.333/.387 in 97 games for a .720 OPS. He’s hit much better recently, going 26-for-82 (.317) with nine extra-base hits in the past 19 games.
Lee will no doubt be criticized for not accepting a trade to a “contender” but it’s worth noting that the Angels are nearly as far out of a playoff spot (8.5 games) as the Cubs (9.5 games) right now.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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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.