Blue Jays lock up Ricky Romero through at least 2015

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UPDATE: According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the contract includes a club option for 2016.

3:08 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Blue Jays have signed Ricky Romero to a five-year, $30.1 million extension.

According to Rosenthal, it is the largest guarantee for any pitcher with less than two years of service time. The contract will cover the 2011-2015 seasons and if my calculations are correct, this would buy out his first year of free agency. It equals the deal given to Yovani Gallardo this April.

Romero, 25, is 22-16 over his first 52 major league starts, including a 3.53 ERA through 23 starts this season. 

An interesting contrast is Brett Anderson’s recent extension with the Athletics. He was signed to a four-year, $12.5 million contract with an $8 million club option for 2014 and a $12 million club option for 2015 (his first year of free agency). If he plays out the entire length of the contract, Anderson would have the chance to make $31 million, nearly equaling the Romero deal.

Not saying that the Romero deal is bad, necessarily, but Anderson’s deal comes with considerably less risk.

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.