Usually the MLB strikeout leader is a big-name, Cy Young-caliber pitcher.
In fact, every single MLB strikeout leader during the past 20 years fits that description:
Randy Johnson (nine times)
Johan Santana (two times)
Justin Verlander (two times)
Curt Schilling (two times)
You get the idea.
If the season ended today Max Scherzer would be joining that amazing company, as the Tigers right-hander has an MLB-leading 186 strikeouts to go along with a pedestrian 4.41 ERA. In terms of raw stuff Scherzer has always seemed like a potential ace, but he’s 27 years old with a 4.01 career ERA and would obviously stick out from the above list like a sore thumb.
Stephen Strasburg trails Scherzer for the MLB strikeout lead 186-to-183 and would certainly fit in better with that group, but the Nationals’ plan to limit his workload down the stretch will make it very tough for Strasburg to overtake Scherzer.
However, next up on this year’s leaderboard are R.A. Dickey (181), Justin Verlander (180), Felix Hernandez (179), and Clayton Kershaw (175). So if Scherzer is going to win the strikeout title and crash the big-name party he’s going to have to hold off a bunch of big names to do it.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.