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