Fernando Rodney confident he’ll get contract extension from Rays

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Fernando Rodney was quoted in Dominican newspaper El Dia earlier this week that he was closing in on a two-year extension with the Rays, but that report was quickly disputed by the club while Rodney’s agent, Dan Lozano, later said that his client was misquoted. However, Rodney told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez yesterday that he’s in talks with the Rays and is confident that he’ll eventually get an extension done.

“It’s in plans already,” Rodney said in Spanish on Friday, a few minutes before taking the field against Venezuela’s Navegantes de Magallanes at Sonora Stadium. “We’ve talked a few times, and I expect it to get finalized this month.”

“We’re still in the planning stages, still negotiating,” Rodney said. “You know, these negotiations take time because you have to weigh all your options.”

Asked if he was confident a deal would get finalized, Rodney said: “Of course.”

Rodney is already under contract for 2013, as the Rays exercised his $2.5 million option earlier this offseason. The 35-year-old right-hander is currently set to become a free agent this winter.

Rodney is obviously trying to strike while the iron is hot, as he is coming off an unexpectedly brilliant season in which he posted a 0.60 ERA, 48 saves and 76/15 K/BB ratio over 74 2/3 innings. His ERA was the lowest-ever for a pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched in a season. The previous record was held by Dennis Eckersley, who had an 0.61 ERA with the A’s in 1990.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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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.