Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw “loves everything about Los Angeles” and is “always open to talks”


With the Dodgers throwing around money like never before presumably one of their next moves will be trying to lock up reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to a long-term contract extension.

This winter Kershaw and the Dodgers avoided arbitration with a two-year, $19 million deal that pays him $7.5 million this season and $11.5 million in 2013. And once that deal is over he’ll still be under team control for 2014 via arbitration, at which point Kershaw could hit the open market as a 27-year-old free agent.

All of which means there’s no huge rush for the Dodgers to get something done, but once their wallet is open it might not be such a bad idea and for his part Kershaw told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he’d be open to working out an extension:

Yeah, sure, I’m always open to talks. I’ve had a great time here. I love the guys and I love everything about L.A. I’ll be here for two more years regardless. There’s no deadline or anything, so that’s good.

It’s a different situation because Kershaw still has two-plus seasons of team control remaining, but in terms of an extension buying out his potential free agent years Cole Hamels’ recent six-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies would seemingly represent the starting point for any talks.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.