The best of the “Kershaw and Greinke and …” rhymes

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The current Dodgers team has two amazing starters and then . . . not so amazing starters afterward. Indeed, Clayton Kershaw has a 2.39 ERA and is threatening to strike out 300 guys this year. Zack Greinke has a 1.59 ERA and started the All-Star Game. The rest of the Dodgers starters? Nice guys all, I’m sure, but a bit of a work in progress.

The 1948 Braves are the most famous example of this dynamic, with Hall of Famer Warren Spahan and 24-game winner Johnny Sain leading them to the NL pennant that year. As those two carried the team down the stretch, Gerald Hern of the Boston Post worte a nice little poem about then. It’s often misquoted, so here’s the whole thing.

First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

This morning I noted that the old “Spahn and Sain and two days of rain” thing could apply to the Dodgers, but that it’s hard to come up with rhymes for “Kershaw” or “Greinke.” Thankfully, you commenters and some folks on Twitter helped me out. None of you are as eloquent as Hern, but I applaud your efforts all the same:

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And then we have the Twitter replies:

And finally, my favorite:

My apologies to Brett Anderson, Mat Latos and Alex Wood. None of whom truly deserve this abuse, but all of whom will readily agree, I hope, that Kershaw and Greinke are a tad better than them.

Padres will try to lock up Fernando Tatís Jr. to a long term deal

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The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will try to get Fernando Tatís Jr. locked up in a long-term deal before the start of the 2020 season.

It’d be a wise move from the team’s perspective, of course. Tatís showed in 2019 that he’s the future of the franchise, hitting .317/.379/.590 with 22 homers and 16 stolen bases through 84 games while playing spectacular defense at short. He was a serious contender for the Rookie of the Year Award before going down to injury and still finished third despite playing just a tad over half a season.

That talent and promise means that, in all likelihood, Tatís stands to make massive money in arbitration and free agency once he gets there. If he gets there, that is. Because as we’ve seen so often in recent years, teams have been aggressive in their efforts to lock up young stars like Tatís, buying out their arbitration and at least a couple of their free agency years. These deals tend to be team-friendly, with multiple team options aimed at getting maximal value out of such players before they hit the open market. Of course, the players get much more up front money than they would in the three seasons in which teams can and do set their salaries unilaterally, usually at less than $1 million per year. It’s a standard now vs. later tradeoff, even if the value of the “now” is far less than the value of “later” and even if it pays these guys far less than they’re worth overall.

But that’s the system. And it’s one which will force Tatís to make a tough choice: either take a deal at a time when the team has most of the leverage or else turn down millions in hand now in order take a shot at many more millions later. In his case, he’ll have a rookie season with multiple injuries to think about too. Does that portend future injury issues? Could he, like some players who have been in his shoes before, end up damaged goods by the time he expected to get paid?

We’ll see how both he and the Padres calculate all of that between now and February, it seems.