Jose Contreras and the Phillies have finalized the two-year contract extension that was reported over the weekend. He’ll get $5.5 million for two seasons and according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com the Phillies also have a team option for 2013.
Based on his 2010 performance alone Contreras is certainly worth the investment, as he thrived in his first full season as a reliever by going 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA and 57/16 K/BB ratio in 57 innings. However, he seemed to wear down somewhat in the second half and turns 39 years old next month.
Any multi-year commitment to a 39-year-old pitcher is a huge risk and the presence of a third-year team option is sort of amusing. What are the chances of the Phillies wanting to exercise their option on a 41-year-old Contreras come 2013?
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.