In the latest example of player frustration over the stagnant free-agent market, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen illustrated that it’s not only unsigned players that are unhappy with how the offseason has played out. “Maybe we have to go on strike, to be honest with you,” Jansen told reporters at the team’s Fan Fest over the weekend (link via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times). “…That is something we might have to address, so you don’t have a lot of Miami Marlins doing this. Maybe it’s an adjustment for us, as the players’ union.” Certainly, Jansen’s comments don’t speak for all players, but it’s nonetheless notable that the unrest has reached the point where such a prominent name is even suggesting it as a hypothetical. Jansen adds that he plans to speak with the union about his concerns. It’s likely, too, that he’ll have others who share his sentiment against the backdrop of the slowest free-agent market in MLB history. Of course, the current collective bargaining agreement runs through 2021, decreasing the chances of any near-term action being taken.
More out of Los Angeles…
- In his latest Dodgers mailbag, Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times writes that Yu Darvish has “made it clear” that he’d like to return to the Dodgers, which is part of the reason that his market hasn’t moved forward. Darvish, according to McCullough, has been waiting to see if the Dodgers will be able to shed any money; McCullough notes that they’ve explored dealing from positions of depth by gauging interest in well-compensated veterans such as Yasmani Grandal, Logan Forsythe and Hyun-Jin Ryu, though clearly nothing much has come of those endeavors to date. The fact that he’s waited this long suggests some degree of mutual interest, though the Cubs, Twins and Brewers have been most prominently linked to Darvish in recent weeks.
- McCullough also reports that the chances of Matt Kemp actually making the Dodgers’ roster out of Spring Training are “remote.” While Kemp is in better physical condition than he was in 2017 and will get some at-bats in the left field mix (where he’ll also get a chance to showcase himself for AL clubs), a team official tells McCullough that the reason Kemp wasn’t invited to the Dodgers’ Fan Fest was to avoid putting him in the uncomfortable position of having to answer questions about his future with the team. The Dodgers have Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, Enrique Hernandez and Alex Verdugo all on the depth chart as well.
- MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick also has quotes from GM Farhan Zaidi, manager Dave Roberts and Jansen about Kemp’s return. Zaidi notes that the Dodgers made the trade for Kemp knowing that they may not be able to find another taker and are prepared to hang onto him if he proves he can be an asset in Spring Training. “It’s our responsibility to keep our options open, to let it play out,” said Zaidi. “And if he can help us on the field, that’s what everybody wants.” Roberts, meanwhile, downplayed the previously rocky relationship between Kemp and Puig. “That was three years ago,” said the manager, noting that both players want to win. Both Roberts and Jansen suggested that is a welcome addition back to the clubhouse/roster.