Hopefully Cliff Lee realizes wins are a dumb stat for pitchers

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Cliff Lee just tossed six innings of three-run ball in his final start of the season and has so often been the case he took a loss because the Phillies’ lineup scored all of one run.

Lee finishes the year with a 3.16 ERA and 207/28 K/BB ratio in 211 innings. And he’s going to wind up with a grand total of six wins. Or perhaps I should say six “wins” because of how silly the stat can be.

For instance, Ivan Nova has 12 “wins” with a 5.02 ERA in 170 innings and Bruce Chen has 11 “wins” with a 5.07 ERA in 192 innings.

Five times this season Lee allowed zero or one run in a start and failed to record a win. And he failed to get a win when allowing three or fewer runs a total of 14 times.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Lee is now the first pitcher in baseball history to win fewer than eight games with 200-plus strikeouts and a sub-3.20 ERA. And, coincidentally I’m sure, Lee ranks 85th among 90 qualified pitchers in run support.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.