The Dodgers acquired reliever Brandon League from the Mariners at the July 31 trade deadline and were pleased with the numbers (2.30 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 27 1/3 innings) he posted down the stretch. So they’ve decided to keep him around for a while.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the impending free agent was re-signed on Tuesday evening to a new three-year contract. The financial details of which are not yet available.
Any three-year deal for a reliever deserves to be met with raised eyebrows, but League boasts a 3.14 ERA (and 122 ERA+) since the start of the 2010 campaign. And the Dodgers have enough financial backing now to spend somewhat recklessly.
The 29-year-old righty will presumably serve in a setup role in 2013 behind closer Kenley Jansen.
UPDATE, 8:50 PM: Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM reports that the three-year deal is worth north of $7.1 million per season and Hernandez adds that the Dodgers are viewing League as their closer. Lordy.
UPDATE, 9:02 PM: Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors says the contract is actually worth $7.5 million per year and that it also includes a vesting option. What in the world is Ned Colletti doing?
UPDATE, 9:05 PM: Hernandez confirms: it’s a three-year, $22.5 million contract for League.
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.