We are fast approaching the start of spring training, and almost all of the big-name free agents are spoken for. That said, it’s still the offseason, and that means rumors can be found. We have found them and rounded them up for Thursday. Here they are, those rumors that we spoke of just now…
Kershaw unsure on future with Dodgers
Dodgers lefty, franchise legend, and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw is eligible for free agency next offseason, which means that 2021 will be a walk year for him. He turns 34 next month, and he’s endured some level of decline since his peak. That said, Kershaw’s deep repertoire and exceptional command have allowed him to cope quite well with velocity loss, and he figures to remain a high-quality starting pitcher for at least the near- to mid-term. So surely the Dodgers lifer will finish out his career in L.A., right? To hear Kershaw himself tell it, maybe not. Here’s this excerpt from a longer piece on Kershaw by Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times:
This will be the first time Kershaw enters a season with free agency looming. He said he hasn’t discussed a contract extension with the Dodgers. Does he want one?
“I don’t know,” he said. “Honestly, I wish I had an answer.”
Kershaw is entering the final year of his three-year, $93 million pact, which he signed after using an opt-out in his previous contract. As Castillo notes, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman confirms that the two sides have yet to talk about a new contract, but Friedman also noted the obvious reality that Kershaw in an ideal world would finish his career as a Dodger. Speaking of which, retirement is a possibility for Kershaw, given that he and his wife Ellen have three school-age children, and so is signing with a team closer to his Dallas home. Whatever the ultimate outcome, uncertainty right now reigns when it comes to Kershaw’s future with the Dodgers.
Cubs agree to terms with Jake Marisnick
The Cubs have agreed to terms with veteran outfielder Jake Marisnick, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Marisnick, who turns 30 in late March, is coming off a 2020 season with the Mets in which he batted .333/.353/.606, albeit in just 16 games. For his career, Marisnick owns an OPS+ of 81 across parts of eight MLB seasons, six of which came with the Astros. He can play all three outfield positions and has some speed on the bases. In Chicago, Marisnick’s right-handed bat could pair well with Joc Pederson in left, and he could occasionally spell Jason Heyward against tough lefties and back up Ian Happ in center.
Pirates sign Tony Wolters to minor-league deal
The Pirates have signed veteran catcher Tony Wolters to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training, the team announced. Wolters, 28, has a career slash line of .238/.323/.319 over five big-league seasons, and that’s despite playing all his home games in Coors Field. With the Pirates, he’ll likely be battling Michael Perez for the right to serve as Jacob Stallings’ backup this season.