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The pitching in the NL West is destined to keep improving

Rockies news and links for Thursday, July 29, 2021

Last winter, there was a steady stream of pitching aces who made their way to the National League West. The Dodgers grabbed Trevor Bauer as the winter’s biggest free-agent prize, while the Padres scooped Yu Darvish and Blake Snell via trade. The pitching migration west appears destined to continue with Max Scherzer rumored to be on the move before Friday’s trade deadline.

Assuming Scherzer does end up on one of those teams, he’ll bring his three Cy Young awards to a division that already features Clayton Kershaw, another three-time Cy Young winner, along with one-time winners David Price and Trevor Bauer (although Bauer is currently on administrative leave.) Both aforementioned Padres’ offseason acquisitions bring one Cy Young win and two second-place finishes to the mix. Then there’s Kevin Gausman, who is a finalist candidate this season.

Notable names not mentioned above: Julio Urias (tied for first in MLB wins), Walker Buehler (sixth-best ERA in baseball), Joe Musgrove (a no-hitter this year), and Madison Bumgarner (no introduction needed). Long story short: The pitching in the NL West is absolutely stacked. And I didn’t even mention any starters for the Rockies—probably the strongest rotation in the club’s history.

Here’s a quick look at the current distribution of Cy Young wins across the majors, with Max Scherzer’s three currently going to the NL East since he’s still with the Nationals as of the time I’m writing this:

  • NL East: 5 (Max Scherzer: 3, Jacob deGrom: 2)
  • NL Central: 1 (Jake Arrieta: 1)
  • NL West: 6 (Clayton Kershaw: 3, David Price: 1, Trevor Bauer: 1, Blake Snell: 1)
  • AL East: 2 (Corey Kluber: 2)
  • AL Central: 2 (Shane Bieber: 1, Dallas Keuchel: 1)
  • AL West: 3 (Justin Verlander: 2, Zach Greinke: 1)

Note: Rick Porcello won a Cy Young in 2016 with the Red Sox but is a free agent, so I left him out of the list.

While things are pretty close between the NL East and NL West, for the time being, a Scherzer deal to the West would give the division nine total Cy Young wins, six ahead of the second-place AL West. It’s just unfair!

The influx of pitchers to the Rockies’ divisional rivals is not a welcome sight for this club that already has a -53 run differential and has struggled to hit on the road. It’s no secret having a Trevor Story-sized hole in the lineup won’t exactly help matters if it comes to that.

For now, the front runner for Scherzer seems to be the San Diego Padres—although that seems to change every handful of hours. If that comes to fruition, he’ll probably waste no time facing the Rockies, as the two clubs start a four-game set tonight.

The preferred scenario for Rockies fans would be the only non-division team that appears to be in the running for Mad Max: the Boston Red Sox. The Rockies don’t head to Beantown this season and the Sox don’t come to the Mile High City. Nothing wrong with avoiding Scherzer this year.

Rumors are just rumors, of course, but it’s looking more and more likely that one of baseball’s best arms will be on the way to the NL West before Friday’s deadline. If we’re lucky enough to avoid Max Scherzer, the second choice for contenders is José Berríos— that’s no cakewalk either.

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Max Scherzer may still be a member of the Nationals as I’m publishing this, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a whole lot of movement around the rest of the league. Here’s what went down yesterday as the floodgates opened on deadline deals across the majors, starting with one of our own.

Rockies trade Mychal Givens to Reds for two prospects | Purple Row

Mychal Givens, one of the Rockies’ top relievers this season, is headed to the Cincinnati Reds for a pair of minor-leaguers, Case Williams and Noah Davis. Givens has posted a 2.73 ERA this season, the second-lowest on the team, but would have been a free agent this winter.

Brewers deal for D-Backs All-Star Escobar |

While the best pitching is NL Westbound, Diamondbacks All-Star infielder Eduardo Escobar is on his way out. Escobar is heading to the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, who shored up an offense to go along with their otherworldly pitching staff. In the middle of a miserable season, the D-Backs will get minor leaguers Cooper Hummel and Alberto Ciprian to try and help right the ship for the future.

Starling Marte trade: Athletics acquire outfielder from Marlins for Jesús Luzardo | CBS

The Athletics, who have only won four of their last ten, went out and made a massive splash by trading for Marlins outfielder Starling Marte. The A’s, who currently hold the second wild-card spot in the American League by two games over the Mariners, will send Jesús Luzardo to the Marlins. In Marte, the Athletics get one of the best hitters available on the market. They’re giving up Luzardo, who, despite having a rough season before his demotion to Triple-A, was a top pitching prospect recently and is still viewed as having ace potential.

On the farm

Double-A: Binghamton Rumble Ponies 3, Hartford Yard Goats 2

The Yard Goats dropped a nail-biter on Wednesday to the Rumble Ponies after giving up two runs in the fifth, grabbing one back in the sixth, and then surrendering another in the seventh. Despite getting solid pitching across the board, the offense couldn’t get enough going to prevent the team from their 50th loss of the season.

High-A: Vancouver Canadians 10, Spokane Indians 9

The Spokane Indians came out firing last night, plating seven in the first inning, but the Vancouver Candians kept chipping away to force the game to extra innings before winning it in the eleventh. The Indians managed all of their offense without a single home run, but couldn’t hold on and fell to 34-40 on the year.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 4, Lake Elsinore Storm 1

The Fresno Grizzlles put up two runs in the first inning last night and never looked back as they cruised to a solid win over the Lake Elsinore Storm. Starter Sam Weatherly went six innings surrendering just five hits and one run before handing it over to the bullpen who limited the Storm to just one hit. With the win, the Grizzlies improved to 49-25 this season.

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