Jon Garland’s strained oblique muscle was confirmed today by an MRI exam and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that he’ll be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks, meaning he’ll begin the season on the disabled list.
Coming into spring training the Dodgers had impressive pitching depth, but now Garland is out until at least late April and his would-be replacement, Vicente Padilla, is recovering from forearm surgery and may be out even longer.
Garland joined the Dodgers on a one-year, $5 million deal this offseason. Not only will the oblique injury hurt his chances of reaching the $3.5 million in incentives based on innings, his contract also includes an $8 million option for 2012 that vests if he throws 190 innings and is not on the disabled list in September.
Garland has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, topping 190 innings in nine straight seasons, but even a few missed starts would make reaching that mark (and triggering the option) in a 10th consecutive year unlikely. Gurnick points to John Ely and Tim Redding as the most likely options to replace Garland in the Opening Day rotation.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is reportedly open to a contract extension with the Nationals, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post said Sunday. Rendon told reporters that he didn’t know if agent Scott Boras would discuss an extension with the club, contrary to previous reports confirming the two had already started that conversation.
Rendon, 27, is coming off of his best career year to date. He finished the 2017 season batting .301/.403/.533 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI through 605 plate appearances, good enough to earn him sixth place in NL MVP voting. He made his third postseason appearance after helping Nationals through the National League Division Series, and contributed a pair of extra-base hits before the team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 5.
Rendon is still arbitration-eligible through 2019, but stands to receive a hefty payday once he enters free agency in 2020. While it stands to reason that the Nats would want to lock up a player who contributed a whopping 6.9 fWAR last year, making him the most valuable player on their roster, an extension appeals to Rendon as well. “Why not stay with one organization?” he said Sunday. The 2018 season will be his sixth with the team.