Now that Yoenis Cespedes has established residency in the Dominican Republic his long-awaited free agency should be right around the corner and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins “are expected to make a strong push” for the Cuban defector.
They’ll have plenty of competition, although Cespedes’ poor showing in the Dominican winter league may have exposed some sizable flaws in the 26-year-old outfielder’s game. He went 5-for-35 (.143) with 10 strikeouts and zero walks before calling it quits.
Cespedes said previously that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians were the six teams showing the most interest and Frisaro believes Miami’s “strong Cuban community” could help the Marlins’ case. That and a huge contract, of course.
UPDATE: Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com contradicts Frisaro, reporting that Cespedes “has told teams he would prefer not to play in Miami.”
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.