Clayton Kershaw Rumors

Quick Hits: Weaver, Giants, Dodgers, Walker

Jered Weaver isn't worried that he might have lost out on a bigger contract when he signed a five-year, $85MM extension with the Angels in 2011, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles times writes. "I don't give a [expletive]," says Weaver. "You can quote me on that." If not for the extension, Weaver would have been a free agent this past offseason, in which Zack Greinke received a $147MM contract from the Dodgers. Here are more notes from around the majors…

  • Giants president Larry Baer is discussing long-term contract extensions with general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Sabean and Bochy are signed through 2014, but, after having won World Series in 2010 and 2012, Baer appears to be planning to keep them in San Francisco much longer, saying their extensions "won't be for one year."
  • The Dodgers have discussed an extension with manager Don Mattingly, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times notes. "I think you might see something come up before the end of the year," says Dodgers chairman Mark Walter. Mattingly is in the last year of a three-year deal. Walter also says that the Dodgers, who already have a $230MM payroll in 2013, still have the financial flexibility to add substantial talent at this year's trade deadline, should the need arise. "I think in terms of who the players are, what we need and what our options are, rather than a total budget," Walter says. An extension for Clayton Kershaw could also be on the horizon.
  • The Pirates and second baseman Neil Walker avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal in late January, but "it could be a matter of when, not if" the two parties reconvene talks on an extension, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Walker will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, at which point he will be 31 years old.

Dodgers Notes: Kershaw, Torres

After an offseason of aggressive spending, it's time for the Dodgers to start working toward their first postseason appearance since 2009. Here's the latest from Camelback Ranch…

  • Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers haven’t started extension talks, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports. The left-hander, who’s expected to discuss a long-term deal with the team this spring, said he doesn’t want to negotiate during the season. Kershaw added that he's not distracted by speculation that his next contract could surpass $200MM. “It’s people talking. It really doesn’t bother me."
  • Andres Torres told reporters the Dodgers pursued him during the offseason, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Mets and Reds also had interest in Torres after New York non-tendered him in November. However, he wanted to return to the Giants if at all possible. “My heart is in San Francisco,” he said.

Dodgers, Kershaw Have “Mutual Interest” In Extension

If Ned Colletti has his way, we won't be hearing much about his club's negotiations about a new contract with Clayton Kershaw, but the Dodgers general manager did tell Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that both sides share an interest in getting a deal done.

This is not going to be a daily discussion point for us publicly,” Colletti said. “But there is a mutual interest.”

Kershaw said last summer that he would be open to negotiating an extension, and while it has been assumed that the Dodgers would explore the topic this winter, Kershaw said that no talks had taken place as recently as two weeks ago.  Kershaw signed a two-year, $19.5MM extension last February that covered his first two arbitration-eligible seasons, and he'll have one more arb-eligible year under team control before hitting free agency after the 2014 season.

While Kershaw is controlled through 2014 and there's no immediate rush to work out an extension, the Dodgers may wish to finalize a deal quickly given the ever-rising prices of frontline pitching.  Felix Hernandez's reported seven-year, $175MM agreement with the Mariners sets a new standard in the pitching market and Justin Verlander (also a free agent after 2014) has an interest in discussing an extension with the Tigers.  It seems like just a matter of time before we see a pitcher signing a $200MM deal, a number that Kershaw could get from the Dodgers and would absolutely get as a 26-year-old free agent if he kept up his current form.



Mariners/Felix Hernandez Links: Analysis & Fallout

The Mariners' pending seven-year, $175MM extension with Felix Hernandez is expected to be finalized before Spring Training, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported earlier today.  A source tells Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that the two sides are "still in their final stages" though it seems as if the contract is close to being completed.  Though the extension isn't yet official, it has already drawn a lot of reaction from around the baseball world about how it affects Hernandez, the Mariners and other top pitchers' future contracts…

  • The agreement will become official if Hernandez passes a physical, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports.
  • Also from Baker's item, he notes that the Mariners can afford to keep Hernandez thanks to an upcoming major boost in broadcast revenue.  The M's can opt out of their current TV deal in 2015 or Baker suggests that the club may look to work out a new TV contract sooner in order to avoid marketplace complications if a new NBA or NHL team comes to Seattle.
  • In a separate piece, Baker writes that the Mariners will only benefit from Hernandez's extension if they can build a good roster around their ace.  As Baker notes, the M's have finished in last place in each of the three seasons since Hernandez signed his last multiyear deal with the team.
  • Since the Mariners refused to trade Hernandez, they essentially forced themselves into re-signing Hernandez to a major contract, opines Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Seattle could regret the move if Hernandez struggles in the latter years of the extension "and the Mariners’ choice forever will be weighed against the hypothetical bounty that they could have received for Felix in a trade."
  • While the Mariners are taking a risk in making a seven-year commitment to a pitcher, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan likes the deal for both sides.  Hernandez's talent and his importance to the franchise made the new contract "something that felt like it had to be done," Sullivan writes.
  • Hernandez's extension sets a bar for negotiations between Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, who opines that Kershaw could become the first pitcher to receive a $200MM deal.  Kershaw is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season and will only be 27 years old on Opening Day 2015.

Latest On Kershaw, Dodgers

It won’t be a surprise if the Dodgers’ aggressive new ownership group looks to sign Clayton Kershaw to a long-term deal. However, those discussions haven’t taken place just yet. The left-hander told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he and the Dodgers haven’t started discussing a contract extension. 

“We’ll see,” Kershaw said. “I don’t have any expectations.” 

The Dodgers are expected to discuss an extension before Spring Training begins next month, Hernandez writes. The Excel Sports Management client will earn $11MM in 2013 and is now on track to hit free agency following the 2014 season. He’ll go to arbitration one last time next offseason if the sides don’t agree to a multiyear deal before then.

Kershaw, the NL Cy Young winner in 2011, was the runner-up for the award this past season. He posted a 2.53 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 227 2/3 innings in 2012, leading the NL in ERA for the second consecutive season. Hernandez reports that Kershaw has been throwing off a mound without being bothered by his hip.


Dodgers Could Explore Kershaw Extension

The Dodgers recently gave Zack Greinke the largest contract of any right-handed pitcher in baseball history, but general manager Ned Colletti still feels he has the money to extend incumbent ace Clayton Kershaw, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Colletti could begin exploring an extension for the 2011 Cy Young winner within the coming weeks, says Hernandez (Twitter links).

Kershaw, still just 24 years old, has led the National League in ERA, WHIP and hits per nine innings in each of the past two seasons. He's honed what once was shaky command into a strength, issuing just 2.3 walks per nine frames since the beginning of 2011. Kershaw has also seen his ground-ball rate rise in each of the past three seasons.

Kershaw would be eligible for arbitration a second time this offseason had he not signed a two-year, $19MM extension prior to the 2012 season. Any extension would buy out his remaining year of arbitration eligibility, and presumably Colletti would like to buy out at least three free agent seasons. Recent extensions for superstar pitchers such as Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Jered Weaver each bought out at least three free agent years.

Kershaw recently switched agents and is now represented by Excel Sports Management. As recently as August, he was said to be open to an extension with the only team he's ever known.


Zack Greinke Signing Reaction

Zack Greinke's record-setting six-year, $147MM contract with the Dodgers will have a ripple effect throughout baseball. MLB.com's Peter Gammons lists five things to watch for in the aftermath of Greinke's signing including what kind of deal will Casey Close, who represents both Greinke and his new teammate Clayton Kershaw, be able to negotiate for the young left-hander. Other aftershocks include:

  • The Rays may be in a better position to deal one of their starting pitchers, as their value should be enhanced in talks with the Rangers, Royals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, or whichever other teams are interested, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin
  • After losing out on Greinke, the Rangers will turn their attention to R.A. Dickey, James Shields, and possibly Anibal Sanchez, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, "We'd like to add to our starting depth and we'd like to acquire an impact guy. But we're not casting a wide net to add a starter at any cost."
  • The Tigers are affected both short-term and long-term, opines MLB.com's Jason Beck. Short-term, the Tigers could benefit because the Greinke signing should take the Dodgers out of the bidding for Sanchez and no other suitor for the right-hander has such superior financial resources. Long-term, potential contract extensions for Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer (represented by SFX and Scott Boras, respectively, according to MLBTR's Agency Database) could become much more expensive. 
  • Earlier today, we learned how one executive believes the entire economic landscape of the game is going to change drastically because of the Dodgers' spending. And, the Greinke signing will not allay those fears.

Excel To Represent Clayton Kershaw

Excel Sports Management now represents Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. When agent J.D. Smart left Hendricks Sports for Excel earlier this year, Kershaw made the transition too. At the time it wasn’t clear if Smart was bringing Kershaw with him. Agent Casey Close, who oversees Excel’s baseball department, will assist Smart in contract talks for Kershaw.

The Dodgers have expressed interest in reaching a long-term extension with Kershaw. However, Heyman reports that the sides haven’t started discussing a new deal. The left-hander will earn $11MM in 2013 then hit free agency following the 2014 season. He has considerable leverage after winning the 2011 Cy Young award and finishing second in this year’s balloting. 

The Dodgers are focused on their contract negotiations with Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and on free agent pitchers, Heyman writes. Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez are on Los Angeles’ radar and Kyle Lohse could be of interest as well.

MLBTR’s Agency Database has up-to-date information on MLB players and their agents.


Dodgers Notes: Ethier, Hunter, Kershaw, Ryu

Earlier today, the Dodgers made history when they submitted the winning bid on Hyun-Jin Ryu for $25,737,737.33, the largest ever for a South Korean player.  Here's more on the Dodgers..

  • The Dodgers won't be trading Andre Ethier, so Torii Hunter would need to accept a lesser role if he signed with them, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The veteran, who is close with both Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, has interest from nine other clubs including the Tigers, White Sox, Rangers, and Mariners (Twitter link).
  • Clayton Kershaw's hip issues won't deter GM Ned Colletti from working out a new deal with Clayton Kershaw, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  "I think we'll probably sit down and talk about it once we get past this period of time, the free agent period of time," Colletti said. "We signed him for another year, there's another year after that. That said, if there's a common ground on both sides, it's worth investigating."
  • Agent Scott Boras says that Ryu wants to be a starter in the major leagues, tweets Hernandez.  Boras added that if Ryu doesn't wind up signing with the Dodgers, he expects the posting fee to increase dramatically next year (Twitter link).

Quick Hits: Kershaw, Haren, Berkman, Calendar

You’ve got roughly 24 hours left to participate in our Free Agent Prediction Contest, so make sure you get your picks in before midnight Central time on Wednesday. Here’s the latest from around the league…

  • “We’ll always listen,” said Clayton Kershaw to MLB Network Radio’s Jim Duquette and Jody McDonald when asked about a possible contract extension with the Dodgers. The left-hander did acknowledge that there have been “no conversations,” however.
  • “Dan is healthy,” said agent Greg Landry to ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link), referring to his client and free agent right-hander Dan Haren. There has been speculation that the Haren-Carlos Marmol swap fell apart because of concerns about Haren’s back.
  • Lance Berkman‘s agent Michael Moye told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that his client will play next year if his knees are okay in December (Twitter link). Berkman has reportedly considered retirement due to ongoing knee problems.
  • Ken Davidoff of The New York Post writes that the new collective bargaining agreement might speed up the offseason calender. We’ll know which free agents require draft pick compensation this Friday, but last year we had to wait until December 7th.