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The first dustup at Camp Free Agent occurs

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The free agent camp that the MLBPA has established in Bradenton, Florida has only been open a couple of days and only has about 30 or so players in it so far. Despite just getting going, it already has its first controversy on its hands.

Ken Rosenthal passed along a comment from an anonymous club executive this afternoon, who claimed that a club’s special assistant to the General Manager showed up to the free agent camp but was was asked to leave and was subsequently escorted out. Rosenthal passed along his source’s comment: “I cannot believe the players wouldn’t want scouts at their workout to see who’s in shape.”

Rosenthal then passed long the MLBPA’s comment on the matter:

Gonna side, strongly, with the union on this one.

The free agent camp is not, as the representative notes, a tryout camp. If a club wants to see a free agent work out, it is more than welcome to set up a tryout. A tryout in which a player is focused and prepared, with sufficient notice that club officials will be watching. You know, how it always works with free agents who offer open showcases when looking for work. If they want to “see who’s in shape,” sign the guy to a contract pending physical and take his damn physical.

The free agent camp is not that. It is a workout, not a tryout, facility. If a club inquires about a free agent today, it should be no different than the manner in which a club inquires about a free agent in December: call his agent. Unless scouts are showing up at players’ houses, home gyms and offseason workouts as it is — note: they’re not — they shouldn’t be doing it here.

This all seems calculated to me. I suspect that clubs know how it’s supposed to work and that someone sent a front office employee in anyway with the intention of getting escorted out, thereby creating a news story about it. I suspect they did so in order to cast the camp as a circus, turn public opinion against players and, perhaps, provide additional excuses for why clubs are not signing free agents.

Crazy? Maybe. But it’s no crazier than there being 90 free agents on February 14.

 

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.