MLBits: Kershaw Free Agent Odds, Trout Still Improving, Female Broadcaster, Immaculate Inning, More

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MLBits: Kershaw Free Agent Odds, Trout Still Improving, Female Broadcaster, Immaculate Inning, More

Chicago Cubs

It’s been busy around here and also in the baseball world as a whole. Lots to get into from around the league …

  • At FanRag, Jon Heyman takes an early look at the market for free-agent-to-be (probably) Clayton Kershaw. If you recall, Kershaw has the ability to opt-out of his current contract ($65M due over two years after this season), to try to earn more in free agency. There’s no doubt that he’ll secure a massive contract, but the question is … from whom? Re-upping with the Dodgers seems like the safe bet, because Kershaw loves it there and they made a big push to get under the luxury threshold, presumably in part for that very reason. All of which is why the Dodgers are the obvious first-choice candidate (3:5 odds). But after them?
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
  • Given that Kershaw is a “Dallas-area product,” as Heyman puts it, the Rangers are the most-frequently discussed back-up plan to the Dodgers. Their odds, according to Heyman are 7:1. Beyond those two likely landing spots, Heyman lists the Yankees, Angels, Phillies, Red Sox, and Giants as relative long shots. Even The Field (30:1) is a long-shot. That includes the Cubs, who obviously committed significantly in the rotation this past offseason. I wouldn’t get excited about Kershaw coming to Chicago – it’s not gonna happen. I do have to admit that I would love to see him go to the Angels. Dreaming of a team with Clayton Kershaw (best pitcher of this generation) alongside Mike Trout (best position player of this generation) and Shohei Ohtani (best at being both?) is drool-worthy.
  • Speaking of Trout, he homered three times this weekend, once to left, once to center, and once to right. His nine home runs leads baseball, as does his 1.8 WAR. And perhaps it won’t be a surprise (though it should be), the 26-year-old superstar is STILL getting better. If you can believe it, Trout is swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone, more pitches in the zone, and is making better contact than ever: “He appears less likely to chase a pitcher’s pitch. Pitchers can’t consistently repeat their quality pitches. More than ever, the Trout decision seems to be: put him on base, or give up hard contact.”

  • At Baseball Prospectus, Matt Trueblood offers some analysis to support the longstanding rumors and speculation that Albert Pujols is around two years older than the official record. I won’t go over everything Trueblood lays out, but I will say he makes a compelling (and understanding) case – not just about Pujols, but about the way age matters have been treated over the past couple decades. It’s also really well-written and fair, so I encourage you to check it out. Moreover, if Pujols is truly 40 years old, not 38 … the last few years would sure make a lot more sense.
  • Yesterday afternoon, I wrote that the Dodgers were calling up top pitching prospect Walker Buehler, an hour later I picked him up in my fantasy league, and a couple hours after that he delivered a scoreless 5.0 IP, 4H, 3BB, 5K performance against the Marlins. Needless to say, some of the players were very impressed. “Walker was electric,” said Enrique Hernandez. “So, this kid must be a stud. He’s pretty confident, pretty cocky. Fastball looked like it was 120 [mph] from playing shortstop. The slider looked like 100 as well. It’s pretty fun watching, playing behind him. He’s got special talent and hopefully we’ll see that for a very long time.”
  • Speaking of which, to make room for Buehler, the Dodgers designated reliever Wilmer Font for assignment before yesterday’s game. Font, 28, was the Triple-A PCL pitcher of the year last season (with solid peripherals, I might add), but struggled in his brief stint with the big league Dodgers in 2017 and here in 2018. The Cubs bullpen is rocking right now, but relievers are notoriously volatile. They, and a dozen other teams, will do well to at least kick the tires.
  • The Yankees acquired right-hander A.J. Cole from the Nationals in exchange for cash yesterday, and he’s expected to shuffle into the bullpen and eat inning. According to Mike Axisa, “Cole, 26, opened the season as Washington’s fifth starter but lost the job after allowing 15 runs in 10.1 innings. Yikes. He’s been an up-and-down guy for the Nationals for a few years now and has a 5.32 ERA (5.34 FIP) in 110 career big league innings.” The Nationals, meanwhile, are off to a slow start (10-13).
  • More transactions:

  • Fire up the fountains … She’s gone! That’s pretty good. [Brett: Yeah, but who was that hitter?]
  • Need another reminder that it’s still peak strikeout era?

  • And finally, Kevin Gausman not only tossed a gem on Monday (8.0 IP, 4H, 2ER, 1BB, 7K), he snuck an immaculate inning (that’s nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs) in there for good measure:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami