Cliff Lee is expected to choose between offers from the Rangers and Yankees on Monday.
While the free agent southpaw is off weighing pros and cons, we’re left wondering what he might do and trying to gather any clues.
So far the clue-finding has not been a fruitful venture. The guess here is that Lee will chase the most lucrative contract he can find — just like any free agent would — and all indications have the Yankees offering more guaranteed money.
Don’t tell that to Rangers manager Ron Washington, who was giving out optimistic quotes on the matter Saturday evening while being inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame:
“[My gut says] that he’ll be here,” opined Washington. “I think everything that needs to be done has been done. … We just have to wait.”
Lee, 32, registered a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts this past year. He struck out 7.84 batters per nine innings and turned in a league-leading 0.76 BB/9 (walks per nine innings). For reference, National League Cy Yong Award winner Roy Halladay came in second with a 1.08 BB/9.
The Yankees have apparently offered a seven-year contract worth around $161 million. The Rangers have only been willing to go as high as six years, but new reports allege that a proposal with a seventh year option may be on the table.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”