That’s right. Jered Weaver struck out 11 over seven shutout frames against the Cubs on Saturday afternoon, vaulting over Tim Lincecum for the major-league lead in strikeouts.
Here’s the leaderboard as of 4 p.m. ET:
Jered Weaver – 107
Tim Lincecum – 106
Dan Haren – 101
Adam Wainwright – 97
Clayton Kershaw – 97
Jon Lester – 96
Ricky Romero – 96
Yovani Gallardo – 94
Francisco Liriano – 93
Roy Halladay – 90
Weaver wouldn’t have been my first guess at the beginning of the season. In fact, he probably wouldn’t have been my tenth. Including today’s start, Weaver has averaged 7.67 K/9 during his career. He has averaged 10.17 K/9 over 94 2/3 innings this season. That’s quite a jump. Somebody much smarter than me needs to some research on this (hint-hint, Fangraphs).
Of course, if Stephen Strasburg’s first three major league starts are any indication, he’ll jump all these guys by the All-Star break, right?
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.