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Report: Rangers, Shawn Kelley agree to one-year, $2.5 million contract

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Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported that the Rangers and reliever Shawn Kelley were nearing an agreement on a contract. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the deal is worth $2.5 million over one year and includes a club option for a second year. The option is for $2.5 million with a $250,000 buyout.

Kelley, 34, began the 2018 season with the Nationals, but his relationship with the team took a turn for the worst when he threw a tantrum pitching in a mop-up role and allowed a home run to Austin Jackson. The Nationals designated him for assignment and ended up trading him to the Athletics. It came out later that Kelley reportedly almost got into a physical confrontation with GM Mike Rizzo.

Kelley put up a respectable 3.34 ERA in 32 1/3 innings for the Nationals and got even better upon arriving to Oakland. In 16 2/3 innings through the end of the season, he posted a 2.16 ERA. Between both teams, he struck out 50 batters and walked only 11 in 49 innings.

Jose Leclerc handled save situations for the Rangers in the final two months of last season and will likely begin the 2019 season as the closer. Kelley will likely set up for him.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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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.