With all the huge long-term contracts being handed out this week there was speculation that Clayton Kershaw could be next, but it doesn’t sound like he’s close to signing an extension with the Dodgers.
Kershaw’s agent, Casey Close, was at Dodger Stadium on Monday and Tuesday, but a source told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that a deal “didn’t appear imminent.”
Kershaw has said previously that he didn’t want negotiations to drag into the season, but declined to say if he’s cut off talks. He threw a complete-game shutout and homered against the Giants on Opening Day, so it’s safe to say if talks are ongoing it hasn’t been a distraction yet.
Kershaw is making $11 million this season and will be arbitration eligible in 2014, so the Dodgers have some time before they have to start worrying about him hitting the open market as a free agent. Whenever he signs his next contract, my guess is Kershaw will become the first $200 million pitcher.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.