A couple of updates here on Cliff Lee and his big free agent decision.
We know that the Yankees have offered the left-hander a seven-year deal worth around $161 million. And we know that the Rangers have offered six guaranteed years with some kind of option for a seventh. Now we’re just waiting for Lee to pick one.
Sadly, it may be another 24 hours or so before that pick is made.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Rangers president Nolan Ryan is under the impression that Lee is going to spend the entire weekend in thought and won’t announce which team he is signing with until Monday.
“I’ve run all my traps and don’t know anything,” Ryan said, “so we’ll just wait and see.”
Lee, 32, turned in a sparkling 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts in 2010, racking up 185 strikeouts and only 18 walks along the way. The average velocity on his fastball has risen steadily over the last five seasons. In 2006 and 2007, he clocked in at 89.0 MPH. In 2008, that saw a slight bump to 90.5 MPH. Then in 2009 he averaged 91.1 MPH, and this past year he was at 91.3 MPH.
Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.
Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.
Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.
The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.