A few items from the National League West…
- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will choose whether to opt out of the remaining two years and $65MM on his contract after the season ends, and Buster Olney of ESPN looks at several factors that could play into the process. Health is chief among them, which isn’t surprising considering Kershaw’s recent injury issues. The 30-year-old is currently on the DL with biceps tendinitis after missing time during the previous two seasons with back and hip issues. If Kershaw does opt out, Olney wonders if his legacy with the Dodgers will help influence them to give him a megadeal. They’ve shied away from overly long commitments in recent years, including when they allowed Zack Greinke to sign with the rival Diamondbacks for a six-year, $206.5MM guarantee in December 2015, Olney points out.
- The Giants are taking an aggressive approach in ace Madison Bumgarner’s recovery from a fractured pinky finger, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group relays. Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Bumgarner may only need one rehab start and could return shortly after May 25, when he’s eligible to come off the 60-day DL. Bumgarner hasn’t pitched yet this year, and his debut will be an especially timely one for a San Francisco team that just lost fellow front-of-the-rotation starter Johnny Cueto for up to two months with an elbow strain.
- The Padres’ decision to designate veteran infielder Chase Headley on Saturday opened up a spot for infielder/outfielder Cory Spangenberg, whom they recalled from Triple-A. Now, Spangenberg may be in a do-or-die spot with the organization, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune suggests. The 27-year-old Spangenberg will see more time at third base than the 34-year-old Headley did, per Acee, as the bottom-feeding Padres want to find out if the younger player is capable of emerging as a long-term piece. Spangenberg, who has been with the Padres since they chose him 10th overall in the 2011 draft, has offered roughly league-average offensive production (.262/.319/.399, 97 wRC+) across 1,009 major league plate appearances.
- In the wake of Headley’s exit from the Padres’ roster, Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required) opines that “the jury’s still out” on A.J. Preller’s ability to make trades. The fifth-year general manager took on Headley and his $13MM salary during the offseason in order to acquire righty Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees, and that hasn’t worked out at all thus far. Both that trade and the 2015 swap in which Preller sent infielder Jedd Gyorko to the Cardinals for outfielder Jon Jay “have been duds,” Lin writes.