The Yankees are expected to make qualifying offers to both Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda by the end of the day tomorrow. While the motivation with Swisher is to secure draft pick compensation, the Bombers are hoping Kuroda will accept and stick around for another season. They might get their wish.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Kuroda is amenable to a one-year contract. The 37-year-old right-hander wouldn’t have much problem landing a multi-year deal under normal circumstances, but he wants to eventually return to Japan and have something left in the tank when he does it.
Kuroda mulled returning to Japan last offseason before he signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Yankees. The qualifying offer is worth $13.3 million, so the salary increase could be enough to pique Kuroda’s interest or at least get the ball rolling on a new contract.
Kuroda was unaffected by the switch to the American League this season, posting a 3.32 ERA and 167/51 K/BB ratio over 219 2/3 innings. He has a 3.42 ERA in five seasons stateside. Only 12 pitchers (with at least 800 innings pitched) have a lower ERA during the same timespan.
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.