Major League Baseball is down to four teams, as the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers battle in their respective League Championship Series. While the teams compete on the field, there is plenty of news around the league off the field.
Here are some of the biggest MLB stories from the last week:
Kershaw Scratched From Game 2 Start
Back issues are nothing new for Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Unfortunately, they appear to have popped up again at the worst possible time.
Kershaw was scratched from his Game 2 start on Tuesday and is listed as day-to-day at this point. The Dodgers lost Tuesday night 8-7 and have fallen into a 2-0 deficit to the Braves heading into a crucial Game 3 Wednesday night.
Still, it appears that the Dodgers’ coaching staff remains hopeful that Kershaw can pitch in either Game 3 or 4, and after a Game 2 loss, they will likely need him.
During the regular season, Kershaw went 6-2 in 10 starts with a 2.16 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and struck out 62 in 58.1 innings. To say that Kershaw would give the Dodgers a massive boost if he can pitch when their backs are against the wall over the next two games would be quite an understatement.
White Sox Fire Rick Renteria
For Rick Renteria, this must feel like déjà vu. After leading the Chicago Cubs through the rough times, he was let go in favor of Joe Madden, who ultimately took the Cubs to a World Series championship in 2016. Now after doing the same, Renteria has been fired once again, this time by the White Sox, who lost in the Wild Card Series to the Oakland Athletics in three games.
The 2020 White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 after going 35-25 during the regular season. Still, after some questionable decision-making (particularly with his bullpen) during the playoffs, he and pitching coach Don Cooper have been shown the door.
There is a belief around the league that the White Sox are looking for someone with postseason success to manage the team, and some controversial names have popped up. A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, who are both serving one-year suspensions after their roles in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal, have been tied to the job.
Time will tell who will inherit an amazingly talented team built around Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Jose Abreu, Lucas Giolito, and others. Whoever it is will have the opportunity to get a club on the brink of being a significant contender in the American League.
Qualifying Offer Figure Set At $18.9 Million
According to Even Drellich of the Athletic, it appears that the league qualifying offer amount has been set at $18.9 million for this upcoming offseason.
Teams at risk of losing a player to free agency can make said player a qualifying offer for one year at $18.9 million. If the player rejects it and signs elsewhere, the team making the qualifying offer would receive a compensatory pick in the upcoming draft.
While it can occasionally be risky to give a qualifying offer to some players, there appear to be some no-doubters in this year’s free-agent pool. The Reds’ Trevor Bauer, the Astros’ George Springer, and the Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto will undoubtedly receive qualifying offers. After that, it is a bit more unclear who will receive one.