The Indians and 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber have been in touch about a contract extension for most of the spring and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that talks are “progressing” with Opening Day just two days away.
Kluber, who turns 29 in April, is due to be arbitration-eligible for the first time next offseason and is under team control through 2018. He’s a unique case because of his age and track record, so you could understand if he tries to get some guaranteed money now rather than take the risk and wait. It’s unclear if talks will be tabled for the offseason if nothing gets done by Opening Day.
Kluber broke out with a 2.44 ERA and 269/51 K/BB ratio across 235 2/3 innings last season. He’s set to make $610,000 this year as a pre-arbitration player.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”