Clayton Kershaw will make $11 million next season and is arbitration-eligible for the final time next winter, but the Dodgers are keen on making sure he’ll be around for the long haul.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Thursday that he’s open to discussing a contract extension with Kershaw this winter. There isn’t a ton of urgency to get a deal done immediately, but Colletti thinks there could be some talks after the madness of the Hot Stove has subsided.
“I think we’ll probably sit down and talk about it once we get past this period of time, the free agent period of time,” Colletti said. “We signed him for another year, there’s another year after that. That said, if there’s a common ground on both sides, it’s worth investigating.”
Kershaw missed a start in September due to a hip injury, but managed to make his final four starts of the season and doctors have since determined that surgery wasn’t necessary. Colletti said that Kershaw came out of the situation “pretty well” and doesn’t think the hip will prevent them from digging in on an extension.
Kershaw, who turns 25 in March, won the National League Cy Young Award last season and is a finalist again this year after leading the majors with a 2.53 ERA while fanning 229 batters in 227 2/3 innings. It’s safe to say that Cole Hamels’ recent six-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies will likely function as a benchmark for an extension.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.