Dodgers extend Clayton Kershaw’s opt-out deadline
Like David Price, Clayton Kershaw had a chance to opt out of his contract with the Dodgers and he had to make his decision by midnight Thursday morning. It’s a really quick turnaround for a player who makes the World Series, and it was a much closer decision for Kershaw than it was for Price. Well, now h’es got a bit more time to figure things out. The pitcher and the team have decided to extend Kershaw’s deadline back to Friday afternoon at 4 PM ET. This would seem to me like good news for anyone who wants Kershaw to stay in Los Angeles. He has two years and $65 million left on his deal, and the most likely scenario was always that the Dodgers would either add a couple years to the end of that or just rip it up completely and sign a new deal. But he seems like a Dodger for life, and this extension would point to them trying to work out a new deal.
Willie McCovey has passed away
The baseball world learned of some sad news Wednesday night, with a legend passing away. Willie McCovey, the legendary Giants slugger, died on Wednesday at the age of 80. McCovey was a Hall of Famer, an MVP, a Rookie of the Year and six-time All-Star. The slugger hit 521 home runs over his career, which spanned from 1959-1980, and he spent all but four of his 22 major-league seasons with the Giants. McCovey holds a special place in San Francisco’s history, being their first real star to spend his entire career in the Bay Area. Willie Mays, of course, spent time in New York before the team moved. McCovey was still a big part of the organization up through this year, and of course the water behind the right field seats is named after him. He’s going to be missed throughout the baseball world, but it’s a particularly tough time in San Francisco.
Brett Gardner’s contract restructured in New York
The Yankees had a decision to make with longtime outfielder Brett Gardner, for whom they had a $12.5 million option for the 2019 season. With their outfield somewhat crowded — remember, Clint Frazier should be healthy for them next year, too — it was unclear what they’d ultimately do. $12.5 million is no insignificant chunk of change. In the end, New York did decline that option, but that doesn’t mean Gardner is going anywhere. The Yankees agreed to a new, one-year, $7.5 million deal. Gardner certainly isn’t a star for the Yankees, but he’s a pest and Red Sox fans will be dealing with him in their rivals lineup for at least one more year.
Trevor Rosenthal signs with Washington
This is not a very high-profile signing, but I think it’s an interesting one that could have been good for the Red Sox. It was reported on Wednesday that the Nationals were finishing up a deal with former Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal. This is not your typical free agent contract, as the righty underwent Tommy John surgery towards the end of the 2017 season and missed all of last year. It’s certainly a high-risk move bringing in someone after so much missed timed, and we know from guys like Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg — the latter of whom, it should be noted, was returning from a different injury — that these rehabs don’t always go perfectly. However, we don’t yet know the exact financials, so we don’t know the exact risk. I can’t imagine it’s a ton of money, and the most likely structure is a two-year deal with some sort of player and/or vesting option for the second season. The Red Sox will likely be looking for bullpen help this winter, and Rosenthal could have been a slightly out-of-the-box answer.
Brian McCann’s option declined
The Astros have moved on from one of the steadier and best catchers of his generation, with Brian McCann’s $15 million option being declined. This was not a surprising move, as McCann is well beyond the best days of his career. It’s been a solid run through the majors for the former Brave and Yankee, but he battled injuries in 2018 and is now a league-average bat at best. The Red Sox could potentially look to upgrade their catching situation this winter — I don’t think they will, but they could — but I can’t imagine they’d view the now-free agent McCann as much of an upgrade at this point.