Unable to find a guaranteed job following season-ending shoulder surgery seven months ago John Maine has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Rockies, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
At least a half-dozen teams were said to be interested in Maine, but clearly none were willing to give him much upfront money or a spot on the 40-man roster. And based on his decision to join the team with the most hitter-friendly home ballpark in baseball and a seemingly full starting rotation it seems unlikely that any other teams offered him much of role either.
Crasnick reports that Maine can opt out of the contract if he’s not on the Opening Day roster, so it’s only a “minor-league deal” in the sense that it doesn’t require Colorado placing him on the roster while they evaluate him in camp. If he does make the team, Maine could earn up to $3 million.
Maine was a solid mid-rotation starter for the Mets from 2006-2009, but always had durability issues and threw a total of just 121 innings with a 4.98 ERA in the past two seasons before going under the knife in July. Colorado has Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa, Aaron Cook, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jason Hammel lined up as starters, so if Maine does make the team it’ll likely be as a middle reliever (or on the disabled list).
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.