It was pretty clever of Jeff Luhnow to turn Brett Myers into a closer this year, so as to up his trade value at the deadline (everyone wants bullpen help). But to do that, he had to rework Myers’ vesting option language in his contract from one appropriate for a starter to one appropriate for a reliever.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the new vesting option makes it almost certain that Myers is going to go someplace at the deadline, and possibly more cheaply than anticipated:
The Astros reworked Myers’ vesting option when they converted him from a starter to closer in spring training. Under his initial deal, he needed to make only 25 starts and not be on the DL at the end of the season to guarantee his $10 million option for 2013.
The exact number of games that Myers needs to finish for his option to vest under the reworked terms is not known, but the degree of difficulty is comparable to what it was for him as a starter, according to a major-league source. The best estimate, then, is that the number is between 40 and 50.
And as Rosenthal notes, Myers is on pace to finish 57 games. This means that, like K-Rod last year, Myers likely has setup man duties in his future on a contender so no one will have to pay that unit* to him in 2013.
*I like to use the term “unit” to refer to $10 million. I was told by a former client that this is what the newly rich — particularly Texas oilmen of the 1970s — called $10 million anyway. As in “I got my first unit in 1977, right after we struck on that land east of Fort Stockton …” and so forth. I want to believe this is true, though I sometimes suspect I was being put on.
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.”