UPDATE: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald now says Rojas’ report is “utterly false.” So, you know, I maybe wrote all that brilliant, cutting edge analysis for nothing.
Jose Valverde is close to signing a one-year deal with the Marlins, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.
Valverde lost his closer job in Detroit at the end of last season and predictably failed to garner much interest as a 34-year-old free agent after his strikeout rate plummeted to a career-low 6.3 per nine innings.
Still, he saved 35 games with a 3.78 ERA last season and has averaged 38 saves during the past six years, so the Marlins get a cheap closer option and Valverde gets an opportunity to bounce back while fighting Steve Cishek for save chances on a non-contending team.
Plus, his post-save theatrics will look especially ridiculous on a last-place team.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.
Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.
According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.
Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.
Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.