Dodgers open to discussing extension with Clayton Kershaw this winter

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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.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.