It’s possible that Zack Greinke’s six-year, $147 million deal won’t be the biggest contract the deep-pocketed Dodgers give out this offseason.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said during the press conference for left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu earlier today that it’s possible the club could explore extension talks with staff ace Clayton Kershaw in the coming weeks. This actually isn’t much different than what Colletti said just about a month ago, but he wanted to put the issue on the backburner while he dealt with more pressing matters. He might be ready now, though.
Kershaw is owed $11 million in 2013 in the second year of a two-year, $19 million contract and is arbitration-eligible for the final time next offseason. Greinke’s deal will likely function as a benchmark in talks and it would be a surprise if he didn’t surpass CC Sabathia’s record $161 commitment from the Yankees. Heck, he could be the game’s first $200 million pitcher.
Kershaw, 24, has a 2.79 ERA over his first five seasons in the big leagues. After winning the NL Cy Young award in 2011, he was the runner-up to R.A. Dickey this past season.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.