UPDATE: Alex Speier of WEEI.com says it’s a done deal. Boston has agreed to a three-year contract with Victorino.
Just a few hours after Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com called the Indians “a prime suitor” for Shane Victorino, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are “frontrunners” for Victorino by making him a three-year, $38 million offer.
I suppose one team being the frontrunner doesn’t preclude another team from being “a” prime suitor, but whatever the case it now seems clear that Victorino is going to get a big multi-year contract at age 31 and coming off a season in which he hit just .255 with a .704 OPS.
Of course, Angel Pagan is 31 years old and just got a four-year, $40 million deal to re-sign with the Giants. Pagan was much better than Victorino in 2012, but combined during the past three seasons Pagan has a .749 OPS and Victorino has a .766 OPS.
One big difference is that the Red Sox presumably would play Victorino is a corner spot, assuming they don’t trade Jacoby Ellsbury, but as early-30s center fielders with .750-OPS bats they’re potentially pretty similar. Unless you’re convinced Victorino showed signs of simply being washed up down the stretch, in which case $38 million is pretty scary.
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.