After the Reds signed Ryan Madson last week, Francisco Cordero was forced to turn his attention to a free agent market without many obvious places to close ballgames. The Orioles were mentioned as a possibility on Monday, but it’s hard to see why adding a late-game reliever should be a priority for them, especially when they already have last offseason’s big mistake Kevin Gregg under contract $5.8 million in 2012.
While Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has downplayed his interest in adding a reliever, passing over the opportunity to make a play for Madson, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com hears that they are indeed in the market for another late-game option and have shown interest in Cordero.
Cordero, who turns 37 in May, posted a 2.45 ERA and 37 saves over 68 relief appearances last season with the Reds. However, he also averaged just 5.4 K/9 and saw his fastball velocity dip to a career-low 93 mph.
Jordan Walden currently projects as the Angels’ closer this season after posting a 2.98 ERA, 32 saves and a 67/26 K/BB ratio over 60 1/3 innings during his rookie season. Of course, he also led the American League with 10 blown saves. While Cordero is obviously on the decline, he could present an alternative should Walden struggle during his sophomore campaign. And given how the market for Cordero has completely collapsed, the Angels likely wouldn’t have to spend much to sign him.
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.