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.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.