Clayton Kershaw Rumors
Clayton Kershaw has a considerable amount in common with the ace of the Dodgers’ American League counterpart. Like Jered Weaver, Kershaw blazed through the minor leagues after going early in the first round of the draft. Both struck out more than a batter per inning last year (9.3 K/9) and should start for their respective teams on Opening Day.
If all goes well for Kershaw this year, he’ll follow Weaver’s career path in one other respect. The Dodgers left-hander could push his 2012 salary past the $4MM mark, a rarity for first time arbitration eligible starters.
Weaver made $4.265MM last year, when he led MLB in strikeouts in his first season of arbitration eligibility. Kershaw, who is two years behind Weaver in the arbitration process, could set himself up for a similarly impressive contract by continuing to pitch well this year in his final pre-arbitration season.
Weaver’s numbers through his first two-plus years resemble Kershaw’s current numbers. Weaver had more wins (35 vs. 26) and fewer losses (19 vs. 23) and walks (132 vs. 224) than Kershaw has now. However, Kershaw has a better ERA (3.17 vs. 3.71), more innings (483 vs. 460 2/3) and strikeouts (497 vs. 372) and fewer hits allowed (388 vs. 445) than Weaver.
Kershaw already compares favorably to some starting pitchers in the class ahead of him, those who were arbitration eligible for the first time this past offseason. His career stats will help him, but they won’t be enough to match Weaver’s 2010 salary.
Kershaw needs a platform year like the one Weaver had in his final pre-arbitration season. Back in 2009, Weaver went 16-8 with a 3.75 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 211 innings, setting himself up for $4MM-plus in arbitration.
There are no guarantees for Kershaw, though he’s better-positioned than most of the other starters who will go to arbitration for the first time after 2011. But if he continues to stay healthy and pitch like a number one starter in 2011 it’s possible that the 23-year-old will match Weaver’s $4.265MM mark in 2012 and set himself up for more money through arbitration in 2013 and 2014.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
There's a lot going on in Giants camp and their division rivals are making headlines, too. Here's the latest...
- Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote today that Barry Zito is "walking a thin line" within the organization and that there's "exasperation" with Zito. Jenkins reported that Zito doesn't have a guaranteed rotation spot and wrote that Zito would not be wearing a Giants uniform by 2013, the last guaranteed year on his contract.
- As Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports, Zito was stunned by the report. Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the left-hander that the Chronicle report was the first he'd heard of the team's frustration. Zito walked five of the 13 hitters he faced in his spring debut.
- Ever gone on vacation only to keep checking out what's going on around MLB? I certainly have and, as MLB.com's Corey Brock explains in this must-read piece, so has Padres executive Josh Byrnes.
- The Dodgers agreed to terms with Clayton Kershaw on a one-year, $500K deal, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. That's more than usual for a pre-arbitration eligible player, but the 22-year-old has a 3.17 ERA and 9.3 K/9 in 483 innings of work, so he's not your average pre-arb player.
- D'Backs GM Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that he has been most impressed with utility player Ryan Roberts this spring (Twitter link).
It's becoming common for teams to sign promising young pitchers to extensions, but the Dodgers haven't locked up their young arms with the same frequency as other clubs. Instead, they have generally obtained starting pitchers through free agency this decade (Darren Dreifort, Andy Ashby, Derek Lowe, Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda are some noteworthy pitchers to sign with the Dodgers as free agents since 2000).
It's not easy to develop pitching, and the Dodgers haven't had an overwhelming amount of young starters worth extending, but that's no longer the case. Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw have become two of the team's best pitchers, so they are candidates for extensions this winter.
The last pitcher to sign an extension was a young left-hander, like Kershaw. It's possible that the Ricky Romero extension - a deal that was based on the ones Jon Lester and Yovani Gallardo signed - becomes a model for a contract between Kershaw and the Dodgers. Here's how Kershaw's current numbers compare to the ones those three starters had when they signed their respective deals:
The pitchers are comparable, but Kershaw stands out. He is younger than the other three pitchers were when they signed extensions, he has a lower ERA, more starts and innings, a better strikeout rate and fewer hits allowed per inning pitched. Kershaw's walk rate is the one blemish on his record, but he's walking fewer batters than ever this year (3.9 BB/9).
Romero, Lester and Gallardo were heading into their final pre-arbitration seasons when they signed their respective deals, all of which were worth $30MM or so. This winter, Kershaw will also be entering his final pre-arbitration season, but he will be in position to seek more guaranteed money. After all, he has pitched more innings, posted a better ERA and struck out more batters at a younger age. The Dodgers would do well to lock Kershaw up to a five-year $30MM extension, but Kershaw's representatives would have reason to ask for more.
On this date two years ago, umpires agreed to the use of instant replay to help determine boundary calls, such as fair or foul, on home runs. Expanded use of instant replay remains a hot topic in baseball, and even though Commissioner Bud Selig continues to dance around the subject, more replay feels inevitable at this point.
Here are a bunch of links from around the baseball blogosphere...
- Mike Ashmore's Thunder Thoughts interviews players and team personnel about minor league life, touching on everything from salary to housing to food, the whole nine. It's a long, but truly great read.
- Capitol Avenue Club analyzes the Derrek Lee trade.
- Pine Tar and Pocket Protectors says that Pedro Feliz is not the answer for the Cardinals.
- Beyond The Box Score looks at which teams are building the best bullpens on the cheap.
- Amazin' Avenue tries to figure out who should close for the Mets with Francisco Rodriguez out for the season.
- Royals Review questions whether or not Kansas City has something in Bryan Bullington.
- The Few, The Proud, The Brave looks ahead to Atlanta's offseason as well as the 2011 season.
- Pittsburgh Lumber Co. tries to figure out if the Pirates should start spending this offseason.
- The Process Report lists the Rays' farmhands eligible for this year's Rule 5 Draft.
- SD Sports Net wonders if the Padres whiffed by failing to sign first rounder Karsten Whitson.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness uses Ricky Romero's new contract as a basis for a Clayton Kershaw contract extension.
- Baseball Time In Arlington examines the hidden value of Cliff Lee.
- Camden Crazies wonders if Brad Bergesen is back to being an effective pitcher.
- 1 Blue Jays Way introduces us to Toronto's prospects.
There is little that is more dismaying than looking back at old draft lists, with the benefit of hindsight, and seeing which players your favorite team missed out on while settling for players who either failed to make much of an impact, or who never even reached the major leagues. Think Reggie Jackson and Steve Chilcott, Robin Yount and David Clyde, Dwight Gooden and Bryan Oelkers. Often, this is driven less by player talent, and more by positional need.
But even more fascinating is to look at some recent draft picks and some of their immediate counterparts, to see how teams fared picking players, one over another, who played the same position. In other words, straight-up scouting choices led to these decisions. Let's take a look at how those worked out in 2006.
- LHP Andrew Miller (Tigers) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): This one is more complicated than it might seem at first. Clearly, Miller, drafted sixth overall, has not been nearly as effective as Kershaw, drafted seventh overall. Miller has a 5.50 ERA in 261 2/3 major league innings, and is currently having trouble throwing strikes in the minor leagues, with an astonishing 30 walks in 28 innings. Kershaw has a 3.28 ERA in 342 major league innings, and shows signs of being a good deal better than that moving forward. But Miller isn't with the Tigers; Detroit dealt him in the move that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Still, advantage has to go to Kershaw on this one, and the Dodgers as well.
- RHP Tim Lincecum (Giants) vs. Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks): Is this one about to turn? Obviously, as of this date, Lincecum, drafted tenth, has worked out as well as one could hope any draft pick could, while Scherzer, drafted eleventh, is still a work-in-progress who has already been traded once. But Lincecum has had uncharacteristic struggles with his control lately, even though his season ERA (3.14) and strikeout rate (10.4/9 innings) are not far off of his career marks. And Scherzer is coming off of a 14-strikeout performance, though four walks meant that he did so in just 5 2/3 innings. For now, though, a big edge to Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
- OF Tyler Colvin (Cubs) vs. Travis Snider (Blue Jays): Based on 2010 season line alone, this battle of the lefty-hitting outfielders would have to go to Colvin, drafted thirteenth, over Snider, drafted fourteenth. After all, Colvin has an OPS of .991 in 83 plate appearances this season, while Snider's stands at .806. But overall, it seems clear that the Blue Jays did better here. Snider came out of high school, while Colvin was a collegiate player. Yet Snider posted significantly better offensive numbers than Colvin as each player climbed their respective system ladders- a .916 to .785 edge in minor league OPS. Snider was holding down a regular job at age 22 before he hit the DL, while Colvin is struggling for a regular spot as his 25th birthday approaches. This one is debatable, but the smart money gives Toronto and Snider the edge.
The front of the Dodgers' rotation is pretty well set, with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla set to occupy the first four spots. There's no shortage of candidates for that fifth spot, but as Steve Dilbeck of The Los Angeles Times notes, most of the contenders have unfavorable contract situations.
Eric Stults and Charlie Haeger are both out of options, Carlos Monasterios is a Rule 5 pick, and both Ramon and Russ Ortiz are believed to have out clauses in their contracts. The one rotation candidate that doesn't have any strings attached is James McDonald, but it doesn't help that he has a 20.25 ERA and a 3.56 WHIP in just over five innings this spring. Regardless of who LA picks for that last spot, there's a chance they'll lose some depth as the other guys succumb to roster limitations.
Let's open this one up for discussion. Who do you think the Dodgers should put in their last rotation spot, and what should they do with the other players? Essentially your choices are a) put them in the bullpen, or b) risk losing them to waivers/out clause/Rule 5 rules. Here are the Spring Training stats, not that they mean anything.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive right on in...
- Southpaws Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw are likely to start the first two games of the playoffs for the Dodgers, but Kershaw must recover from his dislocated non-throwing shoulder first. The back-to-back lefties would be a big advantage if LA played the lefthanded hitter heavy Phillies. Rosenthal also mentions that the Cardinals, despite being so righty heavy, have the second lowest team OPS (.675) against lefthanded pitchers in the National League.
- Hiroki Kuroda would likely start game three for the Dodgers, followed by either Vicente Padilla or Jon Garland. Chad Billinglsey will likely be left out of the rotation.
- The Cards have put their contract extension talks with Mark DeRosa on hold until the offseason, making it more likely that he'll become a free agent. The deal St. Louis originally proposed was less than the three-year, $17.5MM contract Casey Blake received as a free agent last offseason. DeRosa is a year younger now than Blake was then, but the offseason wrist surgery he is scheduled to have makes the situation cloudy.
- The Cubs will be open to "anything and everything" this offseason, including trading Milton Bradley and/or Carlos Zambrano. Anything to improve the club, basically. However, perhaps the only way the Cubs could unload Bradley would be to take on another underachieving, overpaid player in return.
- Zambrano has a full no-trade clause and is owed $54MM over the next three years, but he's still only 28-years-old and still incredibly talented. The free agent market for starting pitching is thin, which may work in Chicago's favor. Big Z might be appealing at the right price.
- Ken Macha will likely remain with the Brewers, but at least four other managers are in danger of being fired. The list starts with Cecil Cooper of the Astros, and also includes Jim Riggleman of the Nationals, Dave Trembley of the Orioles, and Eric Wedge of the Indians.
- Among general managers, Ned Colletti of the Dodgers, Brian Sabean of the Giants, and Dan O'Dowd of the Rockies are all without contracts for next year, and two of them are going to the postseason. The only GM that appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job is J.P. Ricciardi of the Blue Jays.
Let's see what FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal has for us in his latest Full Count video...
- Chone Figgins could be one of the most popular free agents this winter. The White Sox have long had interest in him, and his skills as a leadoff hitter will make him attractive to many teams, perhaps even the Yankees.
- Figgins will come cheaper than Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, and the Yanks could easily withstand his lack of power if they put him in left field. Four years younger than Johnny Damon, Figgins and Derek Jeter would make a dynamic 1-2 punch atop the Yankees' lineup.
- Apparently, Hanley Ramirez isn't very popular in the Marlins' clubhouse. The complaints should only go so far though, because he's played hurt this seasons and is on target to play in 150 or more games for the fourth straight year. Hanley's also batting .385 with runners in scoring position this year after hitting just .239 in those spots last year. He's also worked very hard to improve his defense as well.
- The Dodgers did well by adding Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla to their rotation, but one National League GM is worried about Clayton Kershaw because he's approaching 3,000 pitches thrown on the season, which is when you start to worry.
- Maybe it's time to cut J.D. Drew some slack. Sure, he's missed 92 games in three seasons with Boston, but one team official told Rosenthal he'd sign Drew to the same contract (five years, $70MM) again in a second. The Red Sox consider Drew one of the five best right fielders in baseball when you consider on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and defense.
5:07pm: Ricciardi tells Ed Price of AOL FanHouse that he's not ruling out a trade. "We're waiting 'til 4 o'clock tomorrow," Ricciardi said.
4:23pm: Jack Curry of the New York Times has additional comments from Ricciardi on Halladay:
"We've got nothing going on. We expect him to be with us."
The Phillies are out, and the other suitors failed to wow Ricciardi.
3:19pm: Rosenthal and Morosi say the Dodgers have enough in their system to make a competitive offer for Halladay, even after acquiring Sherrill. And for Evan Grant's thoughts on the Rangers and Halladay, click here.
However, in another entry Rosenthal and Morosi talk to J.P. Ricciardi and label the Halladay sweepstakes "all but over." Ricciardi's comments indicate the same. Toronto's GM seems intent on keeping Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, and others if Doc stays.
2:23pm: Morosi says Halladay is looking unlikely for the Angels, who shot down a Toronto proposal that included Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, and Brandon Wood.
The Halos are also looking for bullpen help, with names such as Heath Bell and George Sherrill in play (their offer for Mike Wuertz fell short).
1:26pm: Rosenthal and Morosi have a source saying things are "very quiet" on the Halladay front. Still, the Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Rays, and Red Sox remain interested.
1:14pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown sees the Dodgers and Red Sox as the frontrunners for Doc in what is shaping up as a two-team race. Brown says the only Major Leaguer in the Dodgers' offer is James McDonald, while the Sox will part with Clay Buchholz, one of Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden, and Lars Anderson, and some lesser prospects. My guess is that the Red Sox find a way to get this done, given the quality they're already offering. ESPN's Jayson Stark says one Dodgers prospect who is off-limits is shortstop Devaris Gordon.
Meanwhile, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News says the Jays wanted Rick Porcello, Ryan Perry, and Casey Crosby from the Tigers for Halladay. Henning says the Tigers bowed out upon that request. Henning adds that the Tigers would consider adding Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham but the price is steep on the sluggers as well.
12:59pm: A Rosenthal/Morosi source with knowledge of the Jays' thinking discusses a package of Dodgers minor leaguers that could catch Toronto's attention in a Halladay deal.
12:21pm: Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal sees the Dodgers in the lead for Halladay, with the Rangers in the mix and talks with Boston calming down.
9:09am: Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe feels the chances of the Red Sox acquiring Halladay are "remote," and believes that Boston has yet to increase their initial offer for him. And in an earlier column, Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald said the Blue Jays and Red Sox have not been in contact over the last three days.
7:55am: We'll start with a review of yesterday's Roy Halladay rumors. The Phillies acquired Cliff Lee instead, cutting into J.P. Ricciardi's leverage for Doc. Ricciardi now has the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Dodgers, and possibly Angels and Rays to work with. The Blue Jays' GM is thinking about keeping Halladay for 2010, based on his comments to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. On to a few new links...
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOX Sports say the Jays are not requiring the Dodgers to include Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley. Instead, they'd just take five or six of the team's top prospects.
- Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News say Ricciardi is trying to get the Yankees and Red Sox into a bidding war. Kind of cliche, J.P. The authors imply the Yanks may be more focused Jarrod Washburn, who obviously wouldn't require as big a bounty.
- Halladay's plan for today, according to Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer - lock himself in his hotel room. Might want to unplug the TV and disable the Internet. Doc is understandably drained from pitching last night amid all the rumors.
11:02pm: It appears we've passed J.P. Ricciardi's self-imposed deadline to deal Halladay. We probably should just pack it in, huh? Nah. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian has the word from Ricciardi, who dismisses the "soft" deadline he laid out. Still, Bastian reports that they're no closer to making a decision, and that it appears more and more likely Doc remains a Blue Jay. And so it goes.
9:11pm: Gordon Edes at Yahoo has a pretty big update on the discussions. It appears the Red Sox have amped up their efforts to obtain the Doc, and they're willing to include Buchholz, one of Lars Anderson, Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden, and lesser prospects to fill out the rest of the offer.
Edes also reneges on his earlier report that Westmoreland had been part of a Red Sox proposal, and thinks that any reports about the Red Sox involving a third team to get a shortstop to Toronto are untrue.
7:07pm: Jon Heyman tweets an AL executive's comment that Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Ryan Westmoreland "won't get it done" to obtain Halladay.
6:44pm: T.R. Sullivan at MLB.com says that the Rangers are reluctant to part with their top prospects for Halladay. The Blue Jays reportedly asked for a king's ransom of Derek Holland, Justin Smoak and Julio Borbon.
5:00pm: ESPN.com's Keith Law hears that the Red Sox have no intention of including Westmoreland in any deal.
4:40pm: Jayson Stark reports that the same Blue Jays scout who watched Kyle Drabek pitch last night will be in Lehigh Valley to watch as shortstop Jason Donald comes off the DL for his first start since June. Both minor leaguers could be part of a Phils-Jays trade.
1:57pm: Yahoo's Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox offered "at least" Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Ryan Westmoreland to the Blue Jays for Halladay. In my opinion, that is a very strong offer. Edes says the Jays would like to acquire a shortstop since they are "vigorously shopping" Marco Scutaro. That means the Sox might need to get creative.
Edes says Daniel Bard and Casey Kelly "have been declared off-limits by the Red Sox." And while the Dodgers deem Clayton Kershaw untouchable, they've at least discussed internally the possibility of moving Chad Billingsley. Billingsley might be the best name we've heard yet in connection with Halladay, though remember that Edes labeled that an internal discussion.
1:29pm: The Associated Press (via ESPN) reports that Rogers Communications, the company that owns the Blue Jays, wants to bring its costs under control. The Blue Jays have said they don't have to deal Halladay, who has over $20MM left on his contract, for financial reasons.
1:12pm: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Blue Jays and Phillies both need to complete a Roy Halladay trade. Ruben Amaro Jr. will be criticized if he can't get Halladay and J.P. Ricciardi's chance to get more than one impact player for his ace disappears at 4:01 EST on Friday.
12:53pm: Sherman says the Rangers are very much involved in the Halladay talks. The Jays want three of the Rangers' best prospects. Not only is GM Jon Daniels reluctant to give up that much talent, he has limited financial flexibility and the Blue Jays are refusing to take on salary.
The Jays want high-ceiling, MLB-ready players instead of many players who are further from contributing in the majors.
10:55am: Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail says many top Blue Jays people are deciding whether to trade Halladay. It's not just Ricciardi's decision.
Meanwhile, SI's Tom Verducci weighs in. He talked to a scout who spoke of an organizational "tug of war" in Philly, with Pat Gillick and Charlie Manuel pushing the win-now move for Doc while Ruben Amaro Jr. and other player development guys are reluctant to move top prospects.
Verducci says Carlos Carrasco doesn't do anything for the Jays, and they'll require either Drabek or Jason Knapp. The Angels and Dodgers are the other top suitors for Halladay, in Verducci's opinion.
10:07am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Blue Jays insist on receiving Drabek because they consider Happ a middle-to-back-of-the-rotation starter. They want Happ, but may relent if the Phillies give up Drabek.
The Phillies remain favorites to add Doc, but the Red Sox and Rangers could still acquire him.
9:04am: Here's a quick summary of yesterday's Roy Halladay rumors, 15 updates and nearly 400 comments later. The Phillies and Jays reached an "impasse" in their negotiations since neither side wanted to change its offer. The Red Sox are planning a big move, but the Jays would ask the Red Sox or Yankees to give up more than other teams. And what about those other teams? Don't expect the Twins to trade for Halladay, and the Dodgers don't seem likely either. Here are today's rumors:
- Several Phillies people tell David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that they don't expect resolution on a possible Halladay trade before Friday.
- The Blue Jays are still asking for J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek in any deal.
- The Phillies believe they'd have to give up almost as much to acquire Cliff Lee.
- Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer hears that the Jays and Phillies are still talking.
- As for Drabek, he struck out six without walking a man yesterday, touching 96 mph on the gun, according to Don Beideman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown says no GM believes J.P. Ricciardi will stick to his self imposed deadline. Last week Ricciardi said today was the last day he'd consider dealing Halladay.
Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.