We heard over the weekend that that the Orioles’ top priority was to add a starting pitcher, so it should come as no surprise that ESPN’s Buster Olney names them among the teams interested in free agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo.
Olney writes that contract terms is the big question, but Arroyo won’t cost nearly as much as the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, and Matt Garza. The Grant Balfour deal was recently nixed over health concerns, so the Orioles should still have some money to spend.
Arroyo, who turns 37 in February, posted a 3.79 ERA and 124/34 K/BB ratio over 202 innings last season with the Reds. Like most starting pitchers, his market has been pretty quiet recently, but we should see a lot of movement once there’s some clarity with Tanaka.
The Orioles have also been connected to A.J. Burnett this offseason as they attempt to upgrade their starting rotation, but he is still mulling over the possibility of retirement.
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.