With the non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, trade rumors are starting to heat up. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants are drawing interest in starter Jeff Samardzija and reliever Hunter Strickland.
Samardzija, 32, has struggled this year, owning a 4.86 ERA despite an impressive 135/14 K/BB ratio in 124 innings. He has allowed 20 home runs, putting him on pace to break his current career-high of 29. As Schulman notes, teams value Samardzija for his ability to eat innings. He’s under contract for the next three seasons at $18 million each.
Strickland, 28, has a 1.91 ERA with a 36/19 K/BB ratio in 33 innings of work this season. He will enter his first of four years of arbitration eligibility after the season.
The Giants enter play Tuesday at 35-59, just 3.5 games “ahead” of the Phillies for the worst record in baseball. It would not be surprising to see the Giants trade other veterans along with Samardzija and Strickland leading up to the July 31 deadline.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.