It’s still early November, so there’s no harm in aiming high. According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, free agents Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco are doing just that. Santana wants “more than $100 million” for five years, while Nolasco would settle for a mere $80 million over the same timeframe.
Santana’s asking price would seem to be the more realistic of the two. He has been up and down in his career, but he’s had three seasons of at least 210 innings pitched and ERAs under 3.50. Nolasco’s career-best ERA is 3.52, his career mark is 4.37 and he’s spent his entire career working in the easier league. Certainly, no AL team is going to fork over $14 million-$16 million per year in the hopes that Nolasco can make the transition, whereas Santana would fit just about anywhere.
Considering that Nolasco was a below average starter four straight years prior to his nice 2013, he’d going to be very risky on anything longer than a two-year deal. He’ll get three years and maybe even four from some team, but it’s hard to imagine anyone giving him five.
Santana, on the other hand, likely will approach $100 million for five years. $90 million, anyway, seems realistic. Because he has fewer durability questions than Matt Garza, many seem to view him as the top starter in free agency (with Japanese non-free agent Masahiro Tanaka on another level entirely).
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.