Clayton Kershaw “loves everything about Los Angeles” and is “always open to talks”

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With the Dodgers throwing around money like never before presumably one of their next moves will be trying to lock up reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to a long-term contract extension.

This winter Kershaw and the Dodgers avoided arbitration with a two-year, $19 million deal that pays him $7.5 million this season and $11.5 million in 2013. And once that deal is over he’ll still be under team control for 2014 via arbitration, at which point Kershaw could hit the open market as a 27-year-old free agent.

All of which means there’s no huge rush for the Dodgers to get something done, but once their wallet is open it might not be such a bad idea and for his part Kershaw told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he’d be open to working out an extension:

Yeah, sure, I’m always open to talks. I’ve had a great time here. I love the guys and I love everything about L.A. I’ll be here for two more years regardless. There’s no deadline or anything, so that’s good.

It’s a different situation because Kershaw still has two-plus seasons of team control remaining, but in terms of an extension buying out his potential free agent years Cole Hamels’ recent six-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies would seemingly represent the starting point for any talks.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.