The Dodgers announced on Wednesday night that the club and starter Clayton Kershaw have agreed to extend his opt-out deadline until Friday at 4 PM ET.
Kershaw, 30, can opt out of his current contract to become a free agent or he can stay on his current contract which would pay him $32 million in 2019 and $33 million in 2020. The two sides can also work out a new contract extension as well.
Kershaw finished this past season with a 2.73 ERA and a 155/29 K/BB ratio in 161 1/3 innings. He had mixed results in the postseason as his team won three of his six starts while he allowed 15 runs (14 earned) on 25 hits and seven walks with 26 strikeouts in 30 innings.
Notably, Kershaw failed to reach 30 starts for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in the last five seasons. He has been bothered by back issues in recent years. Among seasons in which he has pitched 110 or more innings, Kershaw’s strikeout rate this past season at 23.9 was a career low as was his 90.9 MPH average fastball velocity.
Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:
Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.
Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.
At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.
Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.
It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.
Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.