With starter Clayton Kershaw set to enter his third and final year or arbitration eligibility this off-season, the Dodgers are expected to offer their ace a long-term contract extension. Kershaw is the presumptive NL Cy Young award winner. If he should earn the hardware, it would be his second such honor in three years. As the best pitcher in baseball, statistically speaking, Kershaw is expected to earn a lot of money.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that, earlier this season, the Dodgers talked to Kershaw about a contract that could approach or exceed $300 million:
If it were to come to fruition, it would make Kershaw the highest-paid player in baseball. The Dodgers have plenty of money to play around with, as Frank McCourt sold the Dodgers to the Magic Johnson group for over $2 billion nearly two years ago.
The Dodgers already have over $163 million committed to players for the 2014 season, and already have over $120 million on the books for each of the 2015, ’16, and ’17 seasons. Locking Kershaw up would already give them at least five players to whom they owe at least $20 million through 2017.
In his six-year career, the 25-year-old has posted a 2.60 ERA in 1,180 innings. He has led the league in ERA and WHIP three years running. Despite the unfortunate ending to the Dodgers’ season in Game 6 of the NLCS, Kershaw had been great for them in the post-season as well, posting three quality starts in as many opportunities in the 2013 NLDS and Game 2 of the NLCS.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.