Historic news from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, who hears that Colby Rasmus will accept his qualifying offer from the Astros and return on a one-year, $15.8 million contract.
Rasmus becomes the first player to accept a qualifying offer. As Rosenthal notes, all 34 players who were extended qualifying offers over the past three years all declined.
Rasmus was one of a record 20 free agents to receive a qualifying offer last Friday. The assumption, as it was with most free agents, was that he would decline and sign elsewhere. Doing so would net the Astros a compensatory draft pick in 2016. However, Rasmus’ agent clearly felt that he was going to have a tough time in the market with a draft pick attached. So now he gets a nice one-year deal and will give it another try next offseason.
As for the Astros, this is probably more than they’d want to pay Rasmus, but fortunately it’s only a one-year deal. And it’s not like he wasn’t productive this season. The 29-year-old slugged 25 home runs with a .789 OPS over 137 games. Now that the Astros know he’s coming back, they could explore trading Evan Gattis to upgrade in other areas.
Free agents have until tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET to accept or decline their qualifying offers. You can view the complete list here.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.