Royals’ center fielder Lorenzo Cain isn’t looking forward to hitting free agency after the 2017 season. Comments made to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan suggest that he’d rather sign another extension with the club, preferably one that will keep him in Kansas City on a long-term basis.
While the Royals have prioritized negotiations with infielders Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer this offseason, no long-term arrangement appears to be on the table for Cain just yet. By this time last year, the outfielder had already netted a two-year extension with the team, albeit under wildly different circumstances. The Royals were fresh off of a World Series championship and a career-best year from Cain, who amassed a team-leading 6.4 fWAR during the regular season.
In 2016, the 30-year-old saw a significant dip in his production value after sustaining a wrist sprain that kept him sidelined through most of the second half of the season. He batted .287/.339/.408 with nine home runs and 2.4 fWAR in 434 PA, well down from the marks that earned him an All-Star nomination and MVP bid the year before.
One lackluster year shouldn’t sour the team’s opinion of their star center fielder, however, especially given Cain’s relative health and steady value over the past six seasons. Although he claims to have worked his way back up to full strength this spring, the team doesn’t appear in any rush to make a commitment past the 2017 season, and time is running out to negotiate a deal before Opening Day.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”