Jayson Stark reports what the Padres’ continued success in the standings is making inevitable: Adrain Gonzalez — once thought to be the plum of this year’s trade deadline pie — isn’t going anywhere, so teams have basically given up even asking the Padres about him.
Makes sense. It’s one thing to disappoint your fan base by trading your big star when you’re losing, but doing so when you’re winning is positively unthinkable. I hate to be as cynical as this, but I wonder if there hasn’t been one or two conversations among Padres’ officials that start out with “you know, winning is totally awesome, but man this makes it harder to build for the long term . . .”
Winning aside, Stark reports that the Padres are still willing to shop Heath Bell. That also makes sense inasmuch as a Certified Closer can be created pretty easily these days. Winning or not winning, a team can stand to give up a relief pitcher if the price is right. Even one as good as Bell.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.