We know it’s coming sooner or later. Rosenthal says sooner:
The Los Angeles Dodgers and left-hander Clayton Kershaw could agree to a record-breaking deal this week.
The Dodgers, according to major league sources, want to sign Kershaw to a contract extension by Friday, when clubs must exchange contract proposals with players who filed for arbitration.
That’s not some hard deadline of course, as there is nothing stopping the sides from talking even after numbers are exchanged. It’s just a reflection of the reality that, once arbitration numbers are out there, it’s another datapoint that goes into the negotiation and makes it harder to do.
Kershaw, the reigning Cy Young Award winner and is, from where I’m sitting at least, the most valuable pitcher in the game today. The Dodgers apparently think so as well, as it was reported in October that they had offered him a $300 million extension during the season or, at the very least, had begun discussions in that direction.
Any deal they do is either going to be in that ballpark or is going to contain incentives and structuring of some sort that will get it close to it.
Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.
Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.
It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.
Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.