Clayton Kershaw did what you’d expect him to do against the lowly Marlins this afternoon, tossing eight shutout innings versus a lineup featuring two guys slugging above .385.
In doing so Kershaw lowered his ERA to 1.72, which would be the fourth-lowest among all pitchers with 150 or more innings since the mound was lowered in 1969:
Dwight Gooden 1985 1.53
Greg Maddux 1994 1.56
Greg Maddux 1995 1.63
CLAYTON KERSHAW 2013 1.72
Pedro Martinez 2000 1.74
Ron Guidry 1978 1.74
Also of note: Dating back to 1969 the only left-handed pitchers with 150-plus innings and a sub-2.00 ERA are Ron Guidry, Vida Blue, Wilbur Wood, John Tudor, and Steve Carlton. This is the third straight season in which Kershaw has led the National League in ERA and his career mark of 2.61 is the lowest of any starting pitcher in the post-1969 era.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.