Minnesota declined its $9.25 million option on Scott Baker amid reports that the two sides were working on a new deal for a lesser salary, but the Twins have some competition for the 31-year-old right-hander coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Rangers have all expressed interest in Baker, who threw 135 innings with a 3.14 ERA in 2011 and has consistently been among the leaders in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Declining his $9.25 million option was a no-brainer for the Twins, but he’s been a solid enough mid-rotation starter in the past that a multi-year deal–probably built around incentives–could be attainable.
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.