Earlier this week Reds president Bob Castellini said he “would like to see Dusty Baker as a member of our organization for many years to come.”
However, yesterday the impending free agent manager told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he hasn’t had any contract talks with the team since spring training.
Baker, who’s finishing up a two-year contract, said “it was nice to hear that [what Castellini said], but in meantime I’ve got work to do. The same work I had to do five months ago.”
Cincinnati has the second-best record in the league at 71-47, leading the NL Central by 6.0 games over Pittsburgh and 7.0 games over St. Louis after the Reds went just 79-83 last season.
Fay writes that Baker promised during the winter that he wouldn’t talk about his contract status during the season and has followed through for the most part, but also says “it’s clear that working as quasi-lame duck has put a bit of a chip on Baker’s shoulder.”
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.