After locking up center fielder Cameron Maybin and catcher Nick Hundley on long-term deals earlier this month, the Padres just announced a short while ago that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a four-year contract extension with club options for 2016 and 2017. The deal could potentially cover all of his arbitration seasons and his first year of free agency.
Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that Luebke will receive a $500,000 signing bonus to go along with salaries of $500,000 in 2012, $1 million in 2013, $3 million in 2014 and $5.25 million in 2015. The club option for 2016 is worth $7.5 million while the 2017 option is worth $10 million.
Luebke only has 157 2/3 innings to his name in his big leagues, but he had an impressive 3.31 ERA and 111/29 K/BB ratio over 17 starts after being moved to the rotation last June. This is a bit of a calculated gamble for San Diego, but with only $12 million guaranteed, it could pay off big if the 27-year-old continues to progress.
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.