Associated Press

Cubs’ Ian Happ homers on first pitch of season

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The baseball season began in Miami with the Cubs taking on the Marlins. Jose Urena delivered the first pitch. Ian Happ of the Cubs deposited it over the right field fence.

Predictably, ESPN’s cameras immediately found Derek Jeter, who didn’t seem super impressed. Get used to that look on CEO’s face.

The first inning was otherwise a tire fire for Urena. He hit three batters and gave up two runs. He’s given up four runs in three innings of work. The Marlins have since come back, though, scoring one in the bottom half of the first and three in the bottom of the third, thanks in large part to Kyle Schwarber playing some terrible defense. I guess being in The Best Shape of Your Life doesn’t make you much better of a left fielder. It’ll be interesting to see who he’s DHing for on August 1.

Anyway, here’s “Wonderwall.”

UPDATE: This is why we don’t do “bold predictions” posts. Tweet number one happened just before first pitch:

And:

Indians trade Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers

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The Cleveland Indians have traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers. In exchange, Texas is sending center fielder Delino DeShields and pitcher Emmanuel Clase to the Indians. The deal is pending physical

Kluber made only seven starts this past year thanks to a broken arm and a strained oblique muscle. When he did pitch he was no great shakes, posting a 5.80 ERA and 44 hits in 35.2 innings. Those were freak injuries that do not suggest long-term problems, however, so there’s a good reason to think he’ll bounce back to useful form, even if it’s a tough ask for him to return to the form that won him the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award.

Before his injury-wracked 2019 campaign, Kluber pitched over 200 innings in each of his previous five seasons so mileage could be an issue. For his career he’s 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), a 2.99 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 1,461/292 over 1,341.2 innings in nine big league seasons.

Unless there is cash coming from Cleveland in the deal, the Rangers will be paying him $17.5 million this year and a 2021 option of $14 million pursuant to the five-year, $38.5 million contract he inked with Cleveland before the 2015 season.

DeShields, 27, is a career .246/.326/.342 hitter (76 OPS+) and that’s about how he performed in 2019 as well. He was demoted to Triple-A Nashville in May. Clase, who will turn 22 before next season, pitched 21 games, all but one in relief, for the Rangers in 2019 and will still be considered a rookie in 2020. He has been used mostly as a reliever in the minors as well.

With all due respect to DeShields and Clase, this is a very light return for a pitcher who, despite his 2019 injuries, should be expected to come back and be a workhorse. It would seem to be a salary dump for Cleveland and a steal for Texas. It is likewise perplexing how any of the many, many teams who could use starting pitching — the Angels and the Mets, among others, come to mind — could not top the package Texas offered.