What does a .279 career batting average and .769 OPS make you? Untouchable. At least according to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.
Sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that the Cubs have no plans to deal utility man Jeff Baker to a contender.
The Red Sox and Indians are among the teams that have reportedly shown interest in the 30-year-old, but the Cubs envision him as a member of their team next season.
The versatile Baker is batting .304/.324/.442 with two homers and 18 RBI over 139 plate appearances this season, including a .375 batting average (27-for-72) and .920 OPS against left-handed pitching. He is earning $1.175 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter.
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.