The Braves announced on Wednesday that the club acquired outfielder Preston Tucker from the Astros for a player to be named later or cash considerations. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated pitcher Luke Jackson for assignment.
Tucker, 27, spent all of last season at Triple-A Fresno. He hit .250/.333/.465 with 24 home runs and 96 RBI in 568 plate appearances. He hasn’t played in the majors since 2016, when he compiled a .551 OPS in 48 games. The Braves could certainly use the outfield depth and Tucker could even wind up as a starting outfielder if he performs well in spring training. Tucker is also under team control through 2022.
Tucker was designated for assignment by the Astros last Friday to make room on the 40-man roster for reliever Hector Rondon.
Jackson, 26, is a hard-throwing right-handed reliever who has struggled over parts of three seasons in the majors. He owns a career 5.64 ERA with a 42/29 K/BB ratio in 68 2/3 innings. He’ll almost certainly have to take a minor league deal if he wants to show up at spring training.
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.