A group of geese is called a gaggle. A group of lions is called a pride. What do you call the Dodgers’ collection of starting pitching?
With a rotation that already includes aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, as well as Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chad Billingsley, and Josh Beckett, the Dodgers are in a position to deal at least one of Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports that Lilly is the most likely to be dealt:
Ted Lilly, LHP, Dodgers — Growing interest in the lefty, who missed most of last season after May, as he makes his way back from shoulder surgery. There seems to be more interest in the 37-year-old Lilly than in Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano, two extra Dodgers starters who also could be dealt. The Dodgers are holding on to all of them until they are assured that Chad Billingsley is 100 percent ready after undergoing treatments to his elbow this offseason that enabled him to bypass Tommy John surgery.
Lilly posted a 3.14 ERA in the eight starts he made early in 2012 before going on the disabled list. Capuano bounced back after a rough 2011 with the Mets, finishing with a 3.72 ERA in 198.1 innings. Harang had his second consecutive solid season, ending 2012 with a 3.61 ERA in 179.2 innings. Any of the three would be an upgrade at the back of most starting rotations, but teams likely won’t start calling the Dodgers until the regular season nears. The Dodgers’ leverage in negotiations will be weaker, meaning that they would have to eat more of the pitchers’ salaries.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.