Unlike a lot of folks, I’m actually pretty OK with the Zack Greinke trade from the Royals’ perspective. No, you don’t always “win” a trade when you give up the best player in the deal — indeed, you rarely do — but “Zack Greinke: Kansas City Royal” was just not a viable possibility going forward and the Zack Greinke we see in Milwaukee next year is probably not the same pitcher we would have seen if he stayed. He was not happy with the Royals. The Royals did get some useful pieces. It’s not an awful deal.
Which makes me wonder about this description of the trade from a Royals’ spokesman (which came in the same marketing article I linked a while ago):
“It’s not just us trying to spin this the best way we can. There are lots of baseball experts (executives and scouts) telling us this was not only the right thing to do, but probably the best-case scenario under the circumstances of trading Zack.”
Cook said the team hopes this trade works out similarly to when the Minnesota Twins traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to the New York Mets for four of their best prospects.
I’m going to be charitable here and assume that Mr. Cook — the team spokeman — meant that it would be similar to the Santana deal in the “our team will be able to go on and win a bunch of ballgames and a couple of AL Central titles despite trading away our ace” sense. Not similar in the “wow, we may have just made the worst trade on a talent-for-talent basis in modern memory” sense. Because that is a pretty fair way to describe the Santana trade.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.