Which duo is better: Kemp-Kershaw or Albert Pujols-Weaver?
Just when the Dodgers think they solidified the best 1-2 batter-pitcher combo in town by signing Matt Kemp to a long-term deal, along comes the Angels, who can now add Albert Pujols to Jered Weaver for a solid duo of their own.
Which is better? A look at the pros and cons:
Kemp: Let's face it, Kemp should have won the MVP award last season, and Kershaw was the Cy Young winner. Both (Kemp is 26, Kershaw is 23) are relative babies compared to Albert Pujols, who is 31 and, some think, could actually be a couple years older than that. Kemp hit .324 with a league-leading 39 homers and 126 RBIs last season, though he did have a relatively poor season in 2010 (.249, 28, 89). He has a career OPS+ (which compares on-base and slugging against the league average) of 125, with a league-leading 171 last season.
Kershaw: The left-hander is the best pitcher in the game right now, finishing last season with a 21-5 record, a 2.28 earned-run average and 248 strikeouts in 233.1 innings. His ERA+ (comparing his ERA to league average, with 100 being average) was 163 and his career ERA+ is 135.
Pujols: A three-time league MVP who has led the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series titles, Pujols is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Last season was his worst season, and he still hit 37 homers and had 99 RBIs. However, he will be 32 next season, so his decline years aren't that far off. When he's 41 and making $25 million, this deal may look like a big mistake. His career OPS+ is an astounding 170.
Weaver: He finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting behind Justin Verlander of Detroit. Weaver went 18-8 last season with a 2.41 ERA and 198 strikeouts. His ERA+ was 158 and his career mark is 128. He is 28.
So who would you rather have? Vote now in our poll, and leave a comment letting us know why you voted the way you did.
-- Houston Mitchell
Photo: Clayton Kershaw, left, and Matt Kemp. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images