FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported this morning that the Cubs are “pushing hard” to sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Teams like the Yankees and Dodgers have obviously received much of the attention so far, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark provides more evidence why we should start taking the Cubs seriously here:
It’s unclear what a “monster deal” means exactly, but one would have to assume that it would be well above $100 million. It could be worth it for a team like the Cubs, who are trying to find their way back to relevancy. While they are loaded with top position prospects like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Alberto Almora, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara, they are a bit short on the pitching side. Signing Tanaka, while expensive, would be huge for the rebuilding effort.
Tanaka has until January 24 (next Friday) at 5:00 p.m. ET to sign with a team.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.