Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw have ‘open dialogue’ with his opt-out looming

Posted On Aug 26 2020 by

first_imgKershaw will turn 30 10 days before he is expected to make his franchise-record eighth consecutive opening day start for the Dodgers next month. He could potentially join a star-studded free-agent class next winter that could also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon and Andrew Miller.Under Zaidi and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers have been only modest spenders in the free-agent market. They have been more willing to spend on keeping their own players. They bid into the $150 million range for Zack Greinke before he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for more than $200 million. They re-signed closer Kenley Jansen (five years, $80 million), third baseman Justin Turner (four years, $64 million) and left-hander Rich Hill (three years, $48 million) before last season after all three had reached free agency.LID LIFTERDodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that right-hander Wilmer Font will start Friday’s Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox and throw the first one or two innings. Right-hander Ross Stripling will start one of the Dodgers’ split-squad games on Saturday.Kershaw threw to hitters during Tuesday’s workout and is on track to make his Cactus League debut Sunday at the earliest.MOUND TALKMLB clearly has some work to do to pin down just how its new pace-of-play rules will be enforced – particularly the new limit on mound visits that do not involve a pitching change.Speaking at the annual Cactus League Media Day event, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said a pitching change would become mandatory if a team had already made its six allotted mound visits and a player or coach tried to go to the mound. From the back of the room, MLB’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre corrected the commissioner, clarifying that the umpire would remind a position player (such as the catcher) that his team had reached the limit and he could not go to the mound unless there was a pitching change. If a manager or coach went out to the mound after using up the six non-change mound visits, a pitching change would have to be made.A member of MLB’s Competition Committee, Roberts said he supports the rule changes aimed at speeding up the pace of play this season.“I think it’s good. … We can all adjust,” Roberts said. “Whatever speeds the game up, we’re all in favor of.”Kershaw said he wasn’t sure what effect the new rules might actually have on the length of games.“Ultimately, I’m not sure if it’s going to create a huge difference with enough minutes or not,” he said. “I think where the union was is: as long as it doesn’t change the integrity of the game, doesn’t change the competitiveness of the game it’s not costing people one way or the other. We’ll have to see if guys are crossed up what’s going to happen, things like that.“At the end of the day, we all want to play a quick game. We all want to have a crispness to it. We all want to create the best product out there for the fans. We’ll just see. I don’t know.” GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has said he isn’t thinking about the clause in his contract which allows him to opt out and become a free agent next fall.It would be unwise for the Dodgers’ front office to take such an approach. The Dodgers’ front office is many things. Unwise is not one of them.“You’re going to get my Belichick on this question,” Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi joked, referencing the notoriously stone-faced, insight-free manner in which the New England Patriots’ head coach treats inquiries from the press.Asked if the Dodgers needed to formulate a plan in case Kershaw decides to become a free agent – and potentially leaves for another team – Zaidi said, “We don’t have to handle it right this moment … not right now.” The possibility of having to outbid other teams to retain Kershaw’s services next offseason was at least one of the motivations behind the Dodgers’ top priority this offseason – getting their payroll below the competitive-balance tax threshold. The Dodgers will now incur much less punitive penalties if they have to cross that threshold in order to re-sign Kershaw next offseason.The Dodgers could also pre-empt that situation by negotiating a new contract extension with Kershaw, replacing or adding to the final two years and $65 million in the seven-year, $215 million extension he signed four years ago.Zaidi would not comment on the potential of that happening or whether there have been any discussions about a new contract.“We’ve had conversations with him. I’m not going to go into detail about it,” he said. “But we have a very open dialogue. He’s our franchise player. So that’s important.“I also know it’s important for him and for us that we don’t share the content of those conversations.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Women’s World Cup 2019: How ‘free spirit’ Megan Rapinoe started on the road to greatness

Posted On Aug 16 2020 by

first_imgIn 2003, Cruz’s team — which featured two future USA internationals in Rapinoe and Stephanie Cox — moved up an age group and made it all the way to the finals of the national championship.”No one had seen a player like Megan at the older age group,” Cruz explained to Omnisport. “She would take on and beat players and college girls would get pissed at her. They would try to take her out, call her names. She would crack a joke to the girls on the bench and everyone would start laughing, then she would get out there and start playing again.” Related News Long before she was drawing the ire of Donald Trump, a teenage Megan Rapinoe was leaving older college girls “pissed” on football pitches across America.Rapinoe was always one to embrace challenges. She played high school basketball with men and made 300-mile round trips three times a week just to train and play for Danny Cruz’s team Elk Grove Pride in her teens. USA vs. England: How key players Megan Rapinoe and Lucy Bronze match up Re-Posed en FranceA post shared by Megan Rapinoe (@mrapinoe) on Jun 11, 2019 at 7:07am PDTRapinoe was, and is, unique, both as a player and as a person. The US have managed to remain on top of women’s soccer because they are typically fitter, stronger and faster than the rest, yet their star forward Rapinoe uses guile and trickery and is, by her own admission, “not a typical American” in her style.Cruz recalls “a couple of hundred goals” where Rapinoe would bend 40-yard efforts over goalies’ heads, while Garrett Smith, her college coach at the University of Portland, says her unpredictability remains her biggest strength.”You just didn’t know what she was going to do, and that’s what makes her so unique,” he told Omnisport. “She’s not worried about what someone is going to think. She plays with reckless abandon and that’s her thing. You listen to her talk, her thoughts, her political views — she will tell it to you straight and that’s her biggest strength. That’s why she’s a creative force.”The forward — and her twin sister Rachael — were not typical Americans at high school either, passing on the proms and balls for the coaching of Cruz, even though his team trained three hours away from their Redding home in Sacramento.”They did it for four years, three times a week,” Cruz noted. “Their mom sold their car, bought a van and would pick them up from school, they would do their homework on the way down, go to training and do their homework on the way back.”Cruz claimed Rachael was “the type to break your legs” where Megan was “a soft person,” though less so when it came to sibling rivalry.Where oh where, are we going next?…— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) March 8, 2019″They fought, called each other names, took each other out,” Cruz said. “People used to say, ‘You need to break those two up’. But that was them.”The pair had largely grown out of their squabbles by the time they enrolled at Portland in 2005, when Smith was looking for a way to get talented freshman Megan into a team of seniors that included Canada great Christine Sinclair.Smith remembers Megan as “the one who wanted to roll over the new balls on the first day of pre-season” and a “free spirit” that would smash passes into the car park when warming up.”You couldn’t make her a robot but we just wanted to make sure she could fit into a system because her career was going to take her into the pros and national teams that weren’t going to put up with crap,” Smith stated. “Slowly but surely, she fit in so great. It was perfect timing for a player like Megan to learn from a Christine Sinclair.”Both twins suffered two ACL injuries at Portland — Megan’s occurring in back-to-back years and Rachael’s effectively ending her career — but the former Rapinoe sister would overcome her setbacks, with 2019 set to be an wonderful year after her back-to-back braces in the knockout round of the Women’s World Cup took USA to the semifinals.But she wants to have an impact beyond the pitch too. Rapinoe was the girl who would run with the slowest members of Cruz’s team on jogs to promote unity. Now she is the woman leading the fights for LGBT rights and gender and racial equality. View this post on Instagram Women’s World Cup 2019: U.S. teammate salutes ‘warrior’ Megan Rapinoe “All of her life is out in front of everyone,” Cruz said. “They know she’s gay. They know she’s outspoken. She’s a lot more mature now and she’s got that leader profile. She’s willing to say, ‘Okay, this is who I’m representing, this is what I’m doing and I’m okay with it’.”The girls I’m coaching talk about her all the time. I do think around the world she is having an impact.”last_img read more