With starter Clayton Kershaw set to enter his third and final year or arbitration eligibility this off-season, the Dodgers are expected to offer their ace a long-term contract extension. Kershaw is the presumptive NL Cy Young award winner. If he should earn the hardware, it would be his second such honor in three years. As the best pitcher in baseball, statistically speaking, Kershaw is expected to earn a lot of money.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that, earlier this season, the Dodgers talked to Kershaw about a contract that could approach or exceed $300 million:
If it were to come to fruition, it would make Kershaw the highest-paid player in baseball. The Dodgers have plenty of money to play around with, as Frank McCourt sold the Dodgers to the Magic Johnson group for over $2 billion nearly two years ago.
The Dodgers already have over $163 million committed to players for the 2014 season, and already have over $120 million on the books for each of the 2015, ’16, and ’17 seasons. Locking Kershaw up would already give them at least five players to whom they owe at least $20 million through 2017.
In his six-year career, the 25-year-old has posted a 2.60 ERA in 1,180 innings. He has led the league in ERA and WHIP three years running. Despite the unfortunate ending to the Dodgers’ season in Game 6 of the NLCS, Kershaw had been great for them in the post-season as well, posting three quality starts in as many opportunities in the 2013 NLDS and Game 2 of the NLCS.
Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.
Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.
Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority. Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”
To that end:
- Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
- Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
- Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.
Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”
While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.
Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.