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The Dodgers think Clayton Kershaw should be a ‘Dodger for life’

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Little has been revealed about the possibility of an extension for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw this offseason. The club’s star southpaw is coming up on a pivotal opt-out clause at the end of the 2018 season, and while GM Farzan Zaidi confirmed there was an “open dialogue” about a long-term deal last month, nothing’s been set in stone just yet.

The Dodgers are understandably open to an extension; Zaidi referred to the left-hander as a “franchise player” and Dodgers owner Mark Walter echoed the sentiment on Saturday, telling FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, “[Kershaw] should be a Dodger for life.” Whether either of those vague comments mean the two sides are close to an agreement is less clear, though Walter added that Kershaw generally prefers to “wait until the end” when it comes to negotiations.

The 29-year-old lefty is entering his 11th consecutive season with the club, one in which he’ll strive to add a World Series ring to his long list of accomplishments. He capped his seventh All-Star run in 2017, supplementing 4.6 fWAR with an NL-best 18-4 record, 2.31 ERA and 6.73 SO/BB in 175 innings.

As things currently stand, Kershaw has another two years and $65 million left to cash in on the seven-year, $215 million extension he signed back in 2014, though he’s expected to pursue richer terms in free agency next fall. Given Walter’s recent comments and the strides the Dodgers have taken to ensure they remain under the luxury tax threshold this year — and assuming Kershaw also envisions himself as a “Dodger for life,” of course — it looks like the club is preparing to meet whatever asking price their ace decides to set.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.