Now that Jon Lester has settled on a team, inking a six-year, $155 million contract late Tuesday night with the Cubs, the focus of this wild starting pitching market turns to Max Scherzer and James Shields.
Scherzer is a client of super agent Scott Boras and there’s talk of him waiting until the tail end of the offseason to choose a destination, so it could be Shields who now takes center stage. Indeed, the righty has already begun meeting with teams …
According to sources close to the situation, the Rangers met with Shields and his representatives over the weekend and are expected to be serious contenders to sign the right-hander as they survey the starting pitching market. The team has also reportedly showed interest in free agent Justin Masterson as well as trade candidates Dillon Geeand Wade Miley, but may be looking to make a bigger splash with the signing of someone like Shields.
That comes from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Shields registered a 3.18 ERA (128 ERA+) in his two seasons with Kansas City and has topped 215 innings every year since 2007. It figures that the 32-year-old’s asking price will start at well over $100 million. And then maybe it comes down slightly from there.
UPDATE, 7:54 p.m. ET: Cotillo adds that the Red Sox and Giants have set up meetings with Shields.
Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.
Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.
During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).
2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.
Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.