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.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.