Dodgers change course, shut down Clayton Kershaw

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All that talk about Clayton Kershaw making one final start?  Yeah, let’s just toss that into the Hardball Talk garbage bin.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers have scratched the young left-hander from his outing Friday against the Diamondbacks and have shut him down for the rest of the 2010 season.

John Ely, 4-9 with a 5.10 ERA in 17 starts, will take the hill instead against Arizona.

Kershaw will finish up a fantastic 2010 campaign with a 13-10 record, 2.91 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 32 starts.  He struck out 212 batters and walked only 81 in 204.1 innings.  The southpaw ranks among the elite aces in the game at the young age of 22.

It’s hard to explain the Dodgers’ waffling on his status this final week.  Kershaw probably asked for one more outing and manager Joe Torre probably backed his player.  Our guess, at least, is that upper management then overruled them both.  Probably.  Or something like that.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.