Indians will consider extending Corey Kluber

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2014 American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2015 season, and the Indians will consider signing him to a contract extension that would buy out some or all three of his arbitration years, and perhaps some of his free agent years as well, per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.

Here’s what Indians president Mark Shapiro had to say about the situation:

“Corey represents all of the things we look for in players: dependable, reliable person, committed to his work ethic, talented. Then you look at contracts and you say, ‘Can we find that point where we’re both comfortable with the shared risk?’ We don’t know that right now. That’s something that we’ll have to look at.

“As prioritization of the calendar goes, it’s something we’ll probably look at over the next couple of months. … He has all the precursors that we would look for to enter into a multiyear agreement.”

Kluber, in his second full season in the majors, took the baseball world by storm in 2014. The right-hander led the league in wins with 18 while posting a 2.34 ERA and a 269/51 K/BB ratio in 235 2/3 innings. He narrowly edged out Mariners starter Felix Hernandez for the AL Cy Young award with 169 points to 159.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?