Tag: Jeff Samardzija

Clayton Kershaw

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 3, Mets 0: When I noticed that Clayton Kershaw — who, after a slow-for-him start has been his old dominant self lately — was going to be facing the Mets this week, my first thought was that it was gonna be a slaughter. Then my second thought was that baseball is weird and unpredictable and you can’t ever hype games in advance and hope that they’ll conform to the hype, so that it’d probably be the case that the Mets would score six runs off of him in five innings. Just go with your first impulse, Craig. Just go with your first impulse. A perfecto into the seventh which ended in a three-hit shutout on 104 pitches with 11 strikeouts. He now has 29 consecutive scoreless innings and is on pace for a 300+ strikeout year.

Yankees 9, Orioles 3: The sweep, as the Yankees are just rolling. It must suck to be a Yankees columnist now, what with there being no controversy and stuff. Maybe you can write a “are the Yankees peaking too soon?!” alarmist column, but that only really gets you a day. Thoughts, prayers.Jacoby Ellsbury singled, doubled and homered — but did not “finish a triple shy of the cycle because that is not a notable thing as it has happens hundreds of times a season — and drove in four runs. Chase Headley hit a bases-clearing double in the first inning.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 2: Russell Martin drove in three  — two of ’em on a two run homer — to back R.A. Dickey who pitched into the ninth inning. So if it was just the two of them playing the Jays would win. Wait, not. If it was just the two of them there would be a LOT of inside the park homers. Never mind.

Pirates 7, Nationals 3: Francisco Liriano pitched into the seventh, allowing three hits and struck out 11. Crazy stat/factoid thingie from the AP wire story: Liriano retired the first 12 hitters he faced on either strikeouts or grounders back to the mound. So maybe in this one the pitcher, catcher and first baseman could’ve been the only ones to play and the Pirates would’ve been just fine?

Cardinals 4, Royals 3: World Series preview? Well, maybe not quite as this was just a rainout makeup and the real World Series will last longer than one game. At least as long as we don’t have a “Dark Knight Rises” situaish happen with some garbled-mouth terrorist taking over Kansas City. Of course if that does happen it’ll be a lot easier to escape what with K.C. really only having a river on one side of it and a lot of ways to leave it without having to cross major bridges and things. Oh, this game, right: John Lackey pitched well. Grichuk and Carpenter each hit two-run homers. As for these two teams matching up, ugh. We’re all sort of tired of the Cardinals, right? If they’re playing deep into October again I *Bane voice* won’t fear death. I’ll welcome it. Our punishment must be more severe.

Mariners 3, Tigers 2: Mike Zunino had an RBI double in the top of the 12th inning. He also extinguished a scoring threat in the 10th by throwing out Anthony Gose trying to steal. All this after entering the game late following Jesus Sucre being lifted for a pinch hitter. Which means that, technically speaking, he wasn’t even supposed to be here today.

Marlins 4, Padres 0: In Soviet Russia, Koehler flushes YOU! Tom Koehler: 7 IP, 3 H 0 ER. The Fish put up a four-run sixth on a wild pitch a throwing error and a couple of singles.

Twins 3, Angels 0: Ervin Santana tossed eight four-hit shutout innings against his old mates. And this time it could be meant literally as there are a lot of dudes on that Angels team who were there when Santana played for ’em. Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer for the game’s only offense. This thing lasted two hours and sixteen minutes. Getaway day, man. Getaway day.


White Sox 8, Indians 1: Jeff Samardzija could’ve just made his last start as a White, um, Sock. If so it was a good one: he allowed one run on four hits in eight innings. Meanwhile, Melky Cabrera went 2-for-3 with two homers.

Astros 5, Red Sox 4: Jose Altuve’s walkoff homer sent the Sox to their eighth straight loss. Altuve had four hits on the night. When does Patriots training camp start? Heck, folks in Boston may even settle for the Celtics right about now.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 3: Zack Godley made his major league debut and all he did was strike out seven in six shutout innings. From the AP story, this quote from Chip Hale:

“The umpire, Brian O’Nora, came over and said, `This guy has got really good stuff.'”

That’s pretty good, yes? According to Elias, Godley is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to throw at least six scoreless innings with no walks and seven or more strikeouts in his major league debut. That’s also pretty good.

Report: Tigers prepared to be sellers, make David Price and Yoenis Cespedes available

Dave Dombrowski

The Tigers beat the Mariners on Monday night to improve to 46-46 on the year. While they are 10 games behind the Royals for first place in the American League Central, they are just four back in the Wild Card race. Still, with slugger Miguel Cabrera expected to miss at least another month with a calf strain and the starting rotation vulnerable, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski is prepared to face the upcoming July 31 non-waiver trade deadline from the unfamiliar position of a seller.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today was told by “several people inside and outside the organization familiar with their strategy” that the Tigers plan to make impending free agents David Price and Yoenis Cespedes available. Dombrowski wouldn’t go quite that far when reached for comment by Nightengale, but he didn’t exactly deny it either.

“At this point,” Dombrowski said, “our focus is trying to win right now. We’re trying to do everything we can to qualify for the playoffs. Things can turn dramatically over a 10-game period. But you have to play well, at some point, on a consistent basis.

“We’re at a point where we have to do what’s best in our heart for the franchise.

And what’s “best in our heart for the franchise” might be an infusion of young talent. Baseball America had the Tigers ranked No. 30 (as in, dead-last) in their organizational rankings over the winter. Moving Price and Cespedes, even though they would just be rentals, could get them moving in the right direction for the long-term.

Price, 29, has a 2.32 ERA and 127/26 K/BB ratio in 132 innings over 19 starts this season. He could be the most sought-after starting pitcher on the market, which is saying a lot considering that Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, Jeff Samardzija, and James Shields are also expected to be available.

Cespedes, 29, is batting .289/.314/.482 with 13 home runs and 52 RBI over 92 games this season. Other high-profile outfielders expected to be available for trade this month include Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, and Carlos Gomez.

Report: Blue Jays have “strong interest” in Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 17: Mike Fiers #50 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on July 17, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

It’s no secret that the Blue Jays plan to target starting pitching in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. We all know about some of the big names like Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, Jeff Samardzija, and Scott Kazmir who are expected to be available, but here’s an under-the-radar possibility:

As opposed to Cueto, Samardzija, and Kazmir, this wouldn’t be a rental situation. Fiers is currently making the major league minimum and won’t even be arbitration-eligible for the first time until after next season. As such, Rosenthal writes that the Brewers would require multiple pieces in return.

After posting a 2.13 ERA over 10 starts and four relief appearances in 2014, the 30-year-old Fiers has a 3.79 ERA and 106/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings this season.

The White Sox likely to shop Jeff Samardzija, but won’t do a major tear-down

Jeff Samardzija

Ken Rosenthal reports that the White Sox are in “listening mode” and that starter Jeff Samardzija is “most likely to go.”

Rosenthal adds, however, that the Sox are not likely to do a wholesale tear-down which involves crazy things like shopping Chris Sale or Jose Abreu. The source Rosenthal spoke to said that all of the club’s offseason moves was not meant as a one-off compete-in-2015-only thing, but that they view the season as the first of a three-year window at least.

Samardzija, of course, is used to the deadline shuffle, as he was traded last July from the Cubs to the Athletics. He’s in his walk year, and while he’s not having a great season — his strikeout rate is down and his ERA is 4.08, which translates to an ERA+ of 91 — he still stands to make a lot of money this winter.

Attention shoppers! Hamels, Cueto, Shields, Samardzija, Price headline rotation trade targets

Cole Hamels

Now that the All-Star game is over the next big date to circle on the baseball calendar is the July 31 trade deadline.

These next three weeks should be very interesting, particularly on the pitching side, because there’s no shortage of contending teams in search of front-line rotation help and no shortage of available high-end starters of all shapes, sizes, and contract lengths.

Here’s my view of big-name starters likely to generate big-time trade interest between now and July 31 …

LHP Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies

Cole Hamels is not a typical trade deadline target in that he’s still just 31 years old and under contract through 2019 at what is basically the going rate for a top-of-the-rotation starter, but the Phillies are so bad that rumors have swirled around him for a long time now.

Hamels’ win-loss records have suffered from terrible lineup and bullpen support, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s anything but a No. 1 starter. He has a 3.29 career ERA–including a 2.88 ERA since the beginning of last season–and he’s basically never been hurt while averaging 32 starts and 212 innings per season since 2008. He finished the first half with an awful start versus the Giants, but Hamels had a 3.02 ERA before that outing and is striking out a career-high 9.5 batters per nine innings this year.

The question with Hamels is how much value he has beyond the 3.5 years and $80 million remaining on his contract. As a free agent he’d get more than that on the open market, so what are teams willing to trade for the right to acquire Hamels at market-value annual salaries for a shorter commitment than they’d have to make via free agency? He’s not just a second-half pickup. Hamels would anchor a rotation for three-and-a-half seasons and that’s nearly impossible to acquire via free agency without making a $100 million-plus commitment.

RHP Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

Johnny Cueto is an even better No. 1 starter than Hamels–posting a sub-3.00 ERA in five straight seasons and finishing runner-up in last year’s Cy Young voting–but he’s also a more typical trade deadline target in that he’s an impending free agent. If a team acquires Hamels they’re getting him for 100 or more starts from now until 2018 or 2019, but the Reds are basically just shopping Cueto’s next 15 starts. That has big value, of course, especially to a team with clear playoff aspirations that can get more starts out of him in October.

Cincinnati has the option of simply letting Cueto make those 15 starts for them and then walk as a free agent, at which point they’d receive a first-round draft pick as compensation. No one seems to think that scenario is likely, but it does mean any trade offer for Cueto must be superior to a first-round pick. And a team that trades for him would not be eligible for the same compensation. Cueto is better than Hamels, but is 15 starts of Cueto for $5 million more valuable than 100-plus starts of Hamels for $80 million? My guess is teams are split on the right answer, which should make for an interesting comparison of hauls if they’re both traded.

RHP James Shields, San Diego Padres

Here’s a clear case of buyer’s remorse. San Diego had huge plans for a headline-grabbing offseason and on-the-fly rebuild, with signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million deal playing a major part in that. But now the Padres are 41-49 and Shields has a 4.01 ERA that’s his worst since 2010 despite calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home.

There are some potential red flags within Shields’ performance at age 33. His velocity is down a bit, his walk rate is way up, he’s served up 19 homers in 19 starts, and his numbers away from Petco Park are ugly. On the other hand he’s also striking out a career-high 10.1 per nine innings. Shields is under contract for $21 million in each of the next three seasons, which is nearly the same as Hamels’ contract and that tells you why the Padres may have trouble moving him for any real value.

LHP David Price, Detroit Tigers

David Price is a potential trade deadline wild card. Detroit is 41-41 and won’t have Miguel Cabrera is the lineup for a while. Price is an impending free agent likely in line for a $150 million-plus deal on the open market. It would be a similar situation to Cueto in Cincinnati, except the Tigers seemingly have no plans for a rebuild and at the very least still have a reasonable shot to make the playoffs. Price is an elite starter and may even rank higher than Cueto to a lot of teams, but the Tigers value his remaining 15 starts much higher than the Reds value Cueto’s and may even have some hope of keeping him around beyond this season.

RHP Jeff Samardzija, Chicago White Sox

Jeff Samardzija is an impending free agent and the White Sox’s on-the-fly rebuild hasn’t gone much better than the Padres’ overhaul. Samardzija isn’t on the same level as Hamels, Cueto, or Price, but it wouldn’t be surprising if plenty of teams prefer him to Shields (and Shields’ remaining contract). After a poor start Samardzija headed into the All-Star break with a 2.40 ERA and 39/8 K/BB ratio in his last 45 innings and he’s gone at least seven innings in 11 of 13 starts since May 1.

LHP Scott Kazmir, Oakland A’s

Another impending free agent, Scott Kazmir has a 3.18 ERA in 49 starts for the A’s since signing a two-year, $22 million deal last offseason. Leaving his final start of the first half with triceps soreness is a worry, but Kazmir is expected to be fine and with the A’s at 41-50 the 31-year-old left-hander figures to be available.

RHP Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati’s other free agent-to-be starter, Mike Leake lacks the upside of Cueto and the other names on this list. However, he’s also younger than everyone else at 27 and has a 3.94 ERA in 1,006 career innings with similar numbers this season. Leake isn’t someone contending teams would want to headline their playoff rotation, but he’s a solid, innings-eating mid-rotation option.