The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw furthered his Cy Young case on Sunday by allowing two runs over 7 1/3 innings and beating the Padres in his final start of the year.
Kershaw tied Ian Kennedy, who made his last start Saturday, for the NL lead with 21 wins.
Justin Verlander has 24 wins in the AL, so this is the first year since 2005 that at least three starters have won 21 games.
Already the NL leader in ERA and strikeouts, Kershaw virtually clinched the pitching Triple Crown today. He ends the year with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Roy Halladay also started today and pitched six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 2.41 to 2.35. Cliff Lee, who has a 2.38 ERA going into his start against the Braves on Monday, would have to pitch at least 10 2/3 scoreless innings or strike out at least 17 batters to deny Kershaw titles in either category. While a 17-strikeout game for Lee wouldn’t be an impossible under normal circumstances, there’s no way he’s getting there while on a pitch count in his final start before the NLDS.
That pitching Triple Crown figures to notch Kershaw the Cy Young Award, whether it’s truly deserved or not. There are strong cases for Halladay and Lee as well, especially since both pitch in a better ballpark for hitters, but even after digging into the deeper stats, Kershaw still fares quite well.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.