Clayton Kershaw Rumors
Here are some National League notes to round out the evening ...
- The Marlins are not going to trade star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason, newly minted GM Dan Jennings emphatically asserted. As ESPN's Jim Bowden reports (via Twitter), Jennings said that "Mr. Stanton is not available" and that the team is "building around him."
- The Rockies are making a run at free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Incumbent Wilin Rosario would presumably get some or all of his playing time at first or in the outfield if Colorado were to land Ruiz. The soon-to-be 35-year-old backstop landed at number 29 on the list of MLB's top fifty free agents compiled by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who sees a return to Philadelphia as the most likely scenario.
- Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers said yesterday that he was "curious" about free agency but "open-minded going into the off-season," Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported. He also expressed some frustration with the recent reports that he turned down a $300MM deal from the club. Now, says Hernandez's colleague Steve Dilbeck, the team may be facing something of a catch-22: the team surely must sign him at some hard-to-fathom rate, but the risks are enormous.
- Though the Cardinals' future remains unquestionably bright given the organization's array of young talent, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the club faces some significant questions. If Carlos Beltran can be brought back on a reasonable deal, Miklasz writes, it is possible that the club will use super-prospect Oscar Taveras in center with a combination of Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday at first base and the corner outfield. But if Beltran leaves, he says, it is not unrealistic to think the club might pursue Jacoby Ellsbury.
- The club's greatest hole, of course, is at shortstop. GM John Mozeliak needs to make a proactive move at this point, says Miklasz, either by signing a player like Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta or by trading from the team's pitching depth. Fellow Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel looks at some possible trade targets for the team.
- For the Phillies to return to contention, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the club must spend big in free agency. Gelb says the club has ample room to increase spending above the $189MM luxury tax line if it wants, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has expressed hesitation. "Obviously, we had a lot less people coming to the ballpark this year," Amaro said at season's end. "We have to be cognizant of that. We have been greatly supported - our payroll was, what, $165MM? That should be enough to put a contender on the field." Dierkes sees the Phils as the front-runners for Nelson Cruz, Ricky Nolasco, Ruiz, and Edward Mujica, though he notes that it all depends whether the team is willing to tack on $40MM+ to its 2014 obligations.
The Dodgers offered Clayton Kershaw a contract valued at approximately $300MM some time this season, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. The offer was "essentially a lifetime contract" that a source with knowledge of the discussions described as "an A-Rod deal."
Sources say that the two sides weren't able to reach an agreement, with Kershaw citing uncertainty about making such a large commitment and about discussing his contract during the season. However, the progress thus far indicates to some who are aware of the discussions that a deal could be completed this winter. The eventual contract may be "more conservative in length" than the Dodgers' offer and would allocate a significant amount of money toward a charity of Kershaw's choice.
Regardless, the deal is expected to be the largest ever for a pitcher, Olney says. According to MLBTR's reckoning, the record is currently C.C. Sabathia's $161MM pact with the Yankees that was inked after the 2008 season.
The 25-year-old Kershaw, who is on track to reach free agency following the 2014 season, has a lifetime 2.60 ERA in 1,180 regular-season innings.
Magic Johnson is getting his first taste of the baseball postseason, and the Dodgers co-owner discussed some topics with reporters (including USA Today's Bob Nightengale and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman) before Game One of his team's NLDS series with the Braves.
- Johnson gave no hint about why negotiations with Clayton Kershaw on a seven-year, $210MM extension fell apart over the summer, but Johnson was confident that a new contract would be worked out this winter. Kershaw is currently scheduled to hit free agency after the 2014 season and his price tag could get even largest with a big October, but Johnson isn't worried: “We already know we've got to give him a lot of money. What's a few more zeroes? I'm hoping we give him a lot of money.”
- The Dodgers' are focusing on retaining their current stars, such as Kershaw or Hanley Ramirez. “We know we can't lose our guys,” Johnson said. “Unless something crazy happens, we won't lose them.”
- This strategy means that the Dodgers won't be players for Robinson Cano this winter, as Johnson hinted his club to can't afford both a major Kershaw extension and a big deal for Cano. "Though I can't talk about it, that other guy in New York is going to get paid -- not by us, but he's going to get paid.” Johnson said. "It's common sense for anybody who knows numbers. The numbers probably just don't add up." Johnson's statements confirm past rumors about the Dodgers staying out of the Cano market.
- Johnson likes how Don Mattingly has managed the team and the two sides will meet after the playoffs to discuss a new deal. This is Mattingly's last year under contract with L.A., though FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi recently reported that the Dodgers hold a $1.4MM option on Mattingly's services for 2014.
The Dodgers and star pitcher Clayton Kershaw were close to agreement on a hefty seven-year deal worth roughly $210MM, major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, the Dodgers wound up backing off and the two sides have not negotiated in months, according to sources.
Talks are unlikely to pick back up between the two sides until the offseason and Kershaw's asking price could be even higher by that point. The 25-year-old leads the majors with a 1.72 ERA, which would be the fourth-best among all pitchers with 150+ innings since the mound was lowered in 1969. He also has a career-best 2.0 BB/9 rate to go with a solid 8.5 K/9 in his third consecutive All-Star season.
The contract discussed would have included an opt-out clause, giving the left-hander the right to become a free agent after five years, sources said. The average salary of approximately $30MM would have put him right next to the AAV C.C. Sabathia got on his one-year extension with the Yankees in October of 2011 on the all-time list.
The Dodgers, of course, still want to strike a deal with Kershaw, who is eligible for arbitration after this season and can hit the open market after the 2014 season. An opt-out clause after year five for Kershaw would delay free agency, but he'd be on the open market again at the age of 30.
Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig has hired Radegen Sports Management to handle his sponsorship and marketing contracts, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter). The move doesn't affect Puig's baseball representation, which is handled by agent Jamie Torres, though it ends speculation that Puig would hire Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports agency to represent him in both on- and off-the-field ventures.
Here are some more items from around the NL West...
- The Dodgers' inability (so far) to sign Clayton Kershaw to a contract extension is the biggest surprise of the first half, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. We heard about a month ago that the two sides were making progress on a seven-year deal that would pay Kershaw at least $180MM, and the prospect of a 12-year, $300MM contract had also been discussed.
- Joc Pederson doesn't seem to have a place in the Dodgers' crowded outfield and could become trade bait before the deadline, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times writes. The 21-year-old center fielder entered 2013 ranked as the 83rd-best prospect in the sport by MLB.com and has improved his stock by hitting .296/.386/.516 with 14 homers and 26 steals in 353 Double-A plate appearances this season. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti praised Pederson's development but declined to say whether the outfielder's name had surfaced in trade talks.
- "I treat the trade deadline kind of like reading US Weekly or People magazine -- entertainment value," Michael Cuddyer tells CBS Sports' Danny Knobler. "I do follow it, but I don't take everything to heart." Cuddyer could be a trade candidate if the Rockies decide they're out of the NL West race, though since they're only 4.5 games out of first, Cuddyer and Troy Tulowitzki both hope the team doesn't give up on the season.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune examines Tom Garfinkel's resignation as Padres president and CEO as part of a reader mailbag. Center doesn't think Garfinkel's departure will lead to Josh Byrnes or Bud Black being fired, as interim president/CEO Ron Fowler told Byrnes that no changes were coming in the baseball operations department. Center also hears that Mike Dee, the CEO of both the Miami Dolphins and Miami's Sun Life Stadium, could be a contender to fill Garfinkel's old jobs.
- In NL West news from earlier today, Giants righty Tim Lincecum has drawn interest from the Tigers and other clubs as a relief pitcher, Hanley Ramirez said he wanted to stay with the Dodgers, and the Rockies acquired Armando Galarraga from the Reds.
SUNDAY: Kershaw is seeking $225MM, but talks have gone on too long for people familiar with the discussions to suggest the sides are close to a deal yet, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
The left-handed Cy Young winner has long been thought as a candidate for an extension, with fellow aces Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander recently landing massive deals. According to Rosenthal, deals of up to twelve years and $300MM had been discussed, in addition to the seven-year contract currently being negotiated.
At just 25 years of age, Kershaw has the combination of age and pitching performance that could justify the record-breaking contract he is likely to receive. CC Sabathia (seven-year, $161MM) currently holds the record for largest contract for a pitcher in terms of new, guaranteed money.
Kershaw has pitched to a .271 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9 in 1044 1/3 career innings. The Excel Sports Management client is currently in the second season of a two-year, $19MM contract, although he is still under team control for one more year.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Yesterday we learned that the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw are making progress on a contract extension that will be worth at least $180MM. In fact, deals for up to 12 years and $300MM have been discussed, in addition to the seven-year deal already being worked on. Here's more on the Dodgers' star pitcher and other news out of L.A...
- The Dodgers have been waiting for the resolution of their TV contract situation wtih Major League Baseball before picking up talks with Kershaw in earnest, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It initially appeared that the Dodgers' massive TV deal was going to be largely immune to revenue sharing, but they'll now have to kick in an additional $1B over the course of 25 years.
- In speaking with reporters, including Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter), Kershaw sounded upset with what he believed to be a leak from the organization and called it a "distraction".
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post recounted the bizarre story of how the Dodgers wound up signing Yasiel Puig, despite having very little intel on him. Within the story, Sherman writes that the Mets were never involved with him and the Yankees didn't make an offer.
- Not much of a surprise here, but manager Don Mattingly says that Puig will probably remain in the majors even if/when Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford return to action, tweets Hernandez.
Jayson Stark's latest Rumblings & Grumblings column for ESPN came out yesterday; here are some highlights.
- There have been enough informal conversations between Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers on a contract extension that both sides expect a deal to get done, a friend of the player tells Stark. The tricky part is that a new deal would begin with the 2016 season, at which point Cabrera will be 33. It seems likely that Cabrera would need an average annual value in the $30MM range, but Stark's sources picture anywhere from three to five additional years.
- Some of Stark's sources don't consider Yankees second baseman and #1 2014 free agent Robinson Cano the type of player to build a team around. One exec, though, told Stark, "I can't imagine him leaving."
- Stark hears Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw seeks a ten-year deal, which would be the first for a pitcher since Wayne Garland signed a ten-year, $2.3MM deal in 1977 (those were different times). One exec can't possibly see Kershaw leaving L.A., and could picture $200-210MM over seven years. Even that would be well beyond C.C. Sabathia's record seven-year, $161MM deal, which was signed on the open market with the Yankees after the '08 season and included an opt-out clause. I feel that Kershaw's agents at Excel Sports Management have to score an opt-out in any new deal, especially with the Dodgers giving them to Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
- One exec suggests the Angels offer Mike Trout the Buster Posey deal, which amounted to eight years and $159MM in new money. Stark says "folks around the game" do not see Trout signing, however.
- The Orioles and Yankees are "leading the parade of teams that already have interest" in Miami's Ricky Nolasco. The 30-year-old is easily the highest-paid Marlin, and should have about $7.7MM remaining on his contract at the trade deadline. Nolasco has a 3.61 ERA in 82 1/3 innings, and sports his best strikeout rate since 2010.
- Would anyone sign Alex Rodriguez, if the Yankees end up releasing him? "No chance," says one executive.
- The Marlins have shown no interest in dealing right fielder Giancarlo Stanton midseason, say clubs that have inquired, though Stark thinks Marcell Ozuna's emergence could push them toward trading Stanton this winter. Stanton should return from a hamstring injury next week.
Credit Dodgers' scouting director Logan White for ensuring that Clayton Kershaw's big league successes have come in a Dodger uniform, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The club had targeted Kershaw and Evan Longoria in the 2006 draft, but were worried that neither would last until the team's seventh overall pick. Several pieces had to fall into place: Luke Hochevar failed to sign in 2005, leading to his being taken first overall the next year. Meanwhile, with many scouts on hand for the last pre-draft starts of Kershaw and Brad Lincoln, the former struggled while the latter dominated. Lincoln went fourth overall to the Pirates. According to White, with Longoria already off the board to the Rays, the Dodgers "were hoping and praying Clayton would get to us." That's just what happened: consensus top arm Andrew Miller fell, perhaps owing to signabilty concerns, and was nabbed by the Tigers at number six, leaving Kershaw for L.A. The decision to take Kershaw caused some initial consternation when Tim Lincecum, taken with the tenth pick by the rival Giants, began his career with a bang. Now, of course, the Dodgers (and their fans) could not be more pleased with their selection. Here are a few more notes from the leagues' western divisions:
- With the Rockies off to an up-and-down start, the Denver Post's Woody Paige has some harsh words for the team's ownership and management. He says that, with a top-12 attendance but a bottom-7 payroll, the club appears "content to produce a .500 team." Among the decisions Paige disagrees with are the team's apparent intention to rely on veteran pitchers like Roy Oswalt and Jon Garland while former top prospect Drew Pomeranz toils in Triple-A and Tyler Chatwood bounces between the minors and the big club. He also faults the club for going with the now-departed Chris Nelson and Reid Brignac instead of bringing up Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu to start the season. He warns that the Rockies could be in danger of losing the affections of stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Unhappy superstars can always cause problems by demanding a trade, of course, but it is worth noting that Colorado has no immediate need to sell its shortstop and left fielder on staying in town. Tulowitzki is inked through at least 2020 (with a 2021 club option), while Gonzalez is under contract through 2017.
- Despite four starters on the disabled list, the Rangers lead the American League in ERA (3.38). Richard Justice of MLB.com writes that the success of the pitching staff is attributable to GM Jon Daniels's efforts to create a deep, talented organization. Likewise, Justice praises Daniels's confidence to enter the season without prior stalwarts Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Mike Adams, and Koji Uehara, and to bring in veterans Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski on one-year deals. The 37-year-old Berkman, in particular, has hit .299/.422/.465 in 154 plate appearances as the club's primary DH.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says it is still too early for the club to narrow down its likely pick with the first choice in the upcoming amateur draft, tweets Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. The club will likely have more clarity when it conducts staff meetings in early June, Smith further tweets.
- As the Astros gear up for an important draft, the club is holding a series of four regional player workouts, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. According to scouting director Mike Elias, the workouts will allow the club to "get up close and personal with the process and see some guys further down the list." He further notes that the process was utilized with success by the Cardinals: "It really helps those players get drafted and helps us make better decisions in the draft."
- Meanwhile, Houston is beginning to see returns from its efforts to develop a pipeline of talent from the Dominican Republic. According to another tweet from Smith, Luhnow is excited about the first Dominican prospect that the club's efforts produced. Jose Cisnero, a right-hander that was originally signed in 2007, checked in at fifteenth on Baseball America's ranking of the club's prospects and has been pitching from the club's bullpen this year.
Earlier today, Tim Dierkes took a look at the Rockies' offseason as one of the final entries in MLBTR's Offseason In Review series. Here's a look around the rest of the division...
- One baseball official tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that talks between Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have already surpassed the $200MM mark. Kershaw has "everything going for him" in the negotiations, writes Heyman.
- Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that formerly promising Padres Chris Young, Jason Bay and Kevin Kouzmanoff are now simply fighting to save their Major League careers.
- Within that same piece, Jenkins notes that Josh Rutledge is the 13th different Opening Day second baseman for the Rockies in 13 seasons. Not since Mike Lansing in 1999-2000 have the Rox had a second baseman open two straight seasons with the club.
- In his most recent Minor League report, Baseball America's Matt Eddy notes that the Rockies have signed GM Dan O'Dowd's son, Chris O'Dowd. The younger O'Dowd was released by the Padres in March after being a 23rd-round selection in the 2012 Draft.