As soon as word surfaced this afternoon that the Mariners and Felix Hernandez were on the verge of a record $175 million extension, many speculated that Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw could eventually push the $200 million mark. We’ll have to wait to find out, but Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times this evening that there is “mutual interest” in getting something done.
“This is not going to be a daily discussion point for us publicly,” Colletti said. “But there is a mutual interest.”
Colletti wouldn’t confirm whether the two sides have begun negotiations, but he said earlier this winter that he could look into the matter after addressing the team’s needs in free agency. Kershaw, who turns 25 in March, is under contract for $11 million in 2013 and will be eligible for free agency following the 2014 season.
Justin Verlander and David Price also figure to do very well with their next contracts, but given Kershaw’s age and the Dodgers’ free-spending ways, he might be best-positioned to be the game’s first $200 million hurler.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.