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Cubs pick up Anthony Rizzo’s 2020 option

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Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have picked up their 2020 club option for first baseman Anthony Rizzo at $16.5 million. The Cubs also hold a club option for the 2021 season at $16.5 million.

Rizzo, 30, had another terrific season for the Cubs in 2019, batting .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored across 613 plate appearances. Towards the end of the season, as the Cubs went on a losing streak that pushed them out of playoff contention, Rizzo dealt with a sprained ankle. He has otherwise been quite durable in his eight seasons with the Cubs.

Rizzo will reprise his role at first base, but the Cubs are going through some changes. The club hired David Ross to replace Joe Maddon as manager. Elsewhere, Cole Hamels, Ben Zobrist, Nick Castellanos, Derek Holland, and Jonathan Lucroy have become free agents, so there will be a bit of roster turnover.

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.