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Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Report: Padres discussing Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer trades with Indians

Corey Kluber

The Cleveland Indians seem unlikely to deal one of their top starting pitchers now that the start of the MLB regular season is less than two weeks ago, but that hasn’t stopped the San Diego Padres from trying.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin of The Athletic, the Padres and Indians continue to have discussions about possible trades involving Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. However, a trade before Opening Day remains unlikely due to Cleveland’s asking price.

San Diego and Cleveland have been having serious discussions since at least back in December, but reports have indicated the Indians are asking for a massive haul of prospects if they deal either of their top pitchers. That certainly makes sense for Kluber, who is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and owed just over $52 million total over the next three seasons. Bauer, who also had an outstanding season last year, is just 28 and has two more seasons of arbitration left.

The Indians have had serious talks about Kluber and Bauer with at least one other team, but we’re probably too deep into the offseason for something to happen. Depending on how Cleveland does over the first half of the season, Kluber and Bauer could be shopped again at the trade deadline.

Watch: Yasiel Puig makes most casual catch ever

It may only be spring training, but Yasiel Puig appears to have his defensive alignment exactly where it needs to be for Opening Day.

During Tuesday’s exhibition game between the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals, Puig made one of the most casual catches you will ever see in the outfield. He happened to be positioned perfectly on a fly ball to right, and he literally didn’t move a muscle until just before the ball was in his glove.

Puig had some forgettable moments in the outfield over the years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and some will say his catch on Tuesday was another example of his lack of focus and nonchalant attitude. We say if you’re standing in exactly the right spot, why bother moving? Sometimes things just work out perfectly.

Dodgers confirm Clayton Kershaw will not start on Opening Day

Clayton Kershaw

The Los Angeles Dodgers have not seemed overly concerned about the shoulder soreness Clayton Kershaw has dealt with for a few weeks, but we now know it is serious enough that the left-hander will not be ready to pitch on Opening Day.

On Monday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed that Kershaw will not be the team’s Opening Day starter.

Roberts said any of LA’s other starters could potentially take the ball in Kershaw’s place. That includes Walker Buehler, who has also been battling an injury but will make his first start of spring training on Wednesday.

Kershaw was shut down last month after complaining of arm discomfort following one of his bullpen sessions, and he has since begun throwing again. He made it threw a bullpen session last week without any setbacks, so it’s possible the Dodgers are just playing things safe.

Kershaw has not thrown more than 200 innings in a season since 2016, and his velocity was way down last year. Despite that, he still finished with a 2.73 ERA in 26 starts, and the Dodgers felt confident enough in his health to sign him to a three-year, $93 million extension back in November. He has downplayed the latest issues with his shoulder, but Dodgers fans will feel uneasy until he is cleared to start.

Mookie Betts does not expect extension with Red Sox before free agency

Mookie Betts

The massive contract extension Mike Trout agreed to with the Los Angeles Angels this week should be outstanding news for Mookie Betts, but Boston Red Sox fans are right to be concerned that it will make keeping their MVP that much more difficult.

It seemed like the market for Betts was set when Bryce Harper signed his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, but Trout’s $430 million contract blows that out of the water. Betts is eligible to become a free agent after the 2020 season, and he said Wednesday that he does not envision signing an extension with the Red Sox prior to that.

Betts added that he is not concerned about the “economics of the game” and is only focused on winning another World Series, but the comments are telling. The star outfielder is more than a year younger than Trout and has a career average of .303. He’s coming off an MVP season in which he hit .346 with 32 home runs, 80 RBI, a 1.078 OPS and 30 stolen bases. Betts also won his second Gold Glove.

Like Trout, Betts is the whole package. While a $430 million contract may not be realistic, there’s no reason he can’t aim for a deal that falls somewhere between the one Harper got and the one Trout has agreed to. While Betts doesn’t quite have the body of work that Trout has, he accomplished an incredibly rare feat last season and is getting better by the day. The Red Sox might regret not signing him to a long-term deal sooner.

Gio Gonzalez to sign minor league deal with Yankees

Gio Gonzalez Max Scherzer

The free agent market was not kind to Gio Gonzalez, so the southpaw seems to be settling for what he can get.

Gonzalez is signing a minor league deal with the New York Yankees, as first reported by FanCred’s Jon Heyman.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal shares details on the deal, saying it’s a minor league contract and that Gonzalez will earn a $3 million base salary if he makes the majors. The deal includes an opt out on April 20 and incentives.

The 33-year-old was waiting to receive an offer to his liking and nothing must have materialized, which is probably why he went so close to the season before signing. The southpaw went 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA and 1.44 WHIP last season, spent with the Nationals and Brewers. In 2017, he went 15-9 with a 2.96 ERA, so he’s not too far removed from a good season.

The Yankees will hope he shows that kind of stuff during his time with them.

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Mike Trout’s massive extension

Bryce Harper Phillies

You would think Bryce Harper might be jealous of the fact that Mike Trout has agreed to an extension with the Angels that will pay him a whopping $100 million more than what Harper got from the Phillies, but the man who had a record contract for less than a month insists that is not the case.

Harper told reporters on Wednesday that he is “very happy” for Trout and told him previously that he hoped his contract blew Harper’s away. He also said he is excited to see what Trout’s $430 million deal means for future star free agents like Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge.

If teams felt Harper was worth as much as Trout, he would have gotten offers that were a lot higher than the 13-year, $330 million deal he signed with Philadelphia. In reality, the Angels probably overpaid to keep Trout, as they were clearly willing to do whatever was necessary to keep him in LA.

By the numbers, Betts can make the argument that he is closer to Trout than he is to Harper. He has already turned down at least one extension offer from the Red Sox, and he said this week that he fully expects to become a free agent after the 2020 season.

Folks on Twitter had quite a bit of fun at Harper’s expense after news of Trout’s contract broke, but you can only be so upset when you just inked a deal that will pay you $330 million guaranteed. Even if Harper is feeling sorry for himself, he’s smart not to say it.

Mike Trout, Angels reportedly agree to largest contract in pro sports history

Mike Trout

The Los Angeles Angels never had any intention of letting Mike Trout hit free agency following the 2020 season, and the massive contract extension they have agreed to with the star outfielder proves that.

The Angels and Mike Trout are finalizing a 12-year contract that is worth an eye-popping $430 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal is the largest for any player in professional sports history. Trout will be paid an average annual salary of around $36 million, which tops Zack Greinke’s previous record average of $34.4 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The total dollar value is $100 million greater than the 13-year, $330 million deal Bryce Harper just signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Trout’s new deal will add 10 additional years to the two he has remaining on the six-year, $144.5 million deal he previously signed.

The Angels have made the playoffs just once during Trout’s eight major league seasons, and there was some concern that he might consider leaving the team because of that. Harper had been openly recruiting him to Philadelphia, which is located fairly close to Trout’s hometown in New Jersey.

Trout is perennial MVP candidate and arguably the best player in baseball. The 27-year-old has a career batting average of .307, 240 career home runs, and a career OPS of .989. While the Angeles should be applauded for doing whatever they needed to keep Trout, it’s shocking that they blew Harper’s deal out of the water by $100 million.