I don’t just sit and pontificate about free agent or trade destinations very often, but it’s a slow day, so here goes:
- I predict that the Yankees are going to get Cliff Lee, with Lee selecting the seven-year deal off that “menu” of offers the Yankees are reported to have given him;
- I predict that he will be the highest paid free agent pitcher of all time;
- I predict that when it’s all said and done, word will leak that the Rangers offers — for all of the pomp and circumstance, visits to Arkansas and billionaires on parade — were decidedly light.
- I predict that the inevitable conclusion of all of this will be that, in reality, Cliff Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker got Brian Cashman to bid against himself in a panicky fashion.
- I predict that, for the first couple of years anyway, no one in Yankeeland will really care because Lee will do pretty well.
- I predict that, in three or four years, Lee will regress or break down and become a good but by-no-means elite lefty starter.
- I predict that, when that happens, people will look back at this winter and wonder why everyone was so hot for Cliff Lee.
None of that is based on any inside information. Just my suspicion of how it’s all going to play out based on a few minutes away from the computer, thinking big picture thoughts while flying home last night. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But I think I’m right.
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.