Clayton Kershaw is healthy, but with the division title all but clinched for the Dodgers and his workload already at an MLB-high 223 innings they’ve decided to give him some extra time between starts.
Kershaw had been scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, but instead he’ll be pushed back until Saturday against the Padres.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Stephen Fife will fill in for Kershaw, who’s been merely really good rather than incredible this month. He logged seven innings of three-run ball last time out against the Giants on Friday, throwing 106 pitches, and leads baseball with a 1.94 ERA overall.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.