When Clayton Kershaw signs a contract extension worth $215 million or Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka chooses which Major League team will enjoy his services, there is no question the consequences will be significant.
But on the Hot Stove, even small pieces of news can carry big ramifications.
Take the Braves’ inability to reach one-year deals with arbitration-eligible stars Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward last week. The club exchanged salary figures with each player on Friday and appears unlikely to work out any agreements prior the hearings that will come during the first three weeks of next month. As MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes, these cases could impact the franchise’s course for several years to come, with its crop of young standouts growingly rapidly more expensive — and possibly too expensive to keep in the long term.
In other news from around the league on Monday:
- The Rays settled on a 2014 contract with ace left-hander David Price last week, avoiding arbitration and taking another step toward keeping the former American League Cy Young Award winner in Tampa Bay for another season. While the always creative Rays still could find an enticing trade for Price, it’s looking more and more like he will be the club’s Opening Day starter, as MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince writes.
- The Mariners struck one of the big blows of the offseason by signing free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano, but as MLB.com columnist Tracy Ringolsby discusses, they continue to search for ways to improve following a 71-win season.
- Rumors have swirled around Tanaka all offseason, through negotiations over a new posting system, the Rakuten Golden Eagles’ decision about whether to let him go, and then the current bidding war among MLB clubs. But the issue of the right-hander’s U.S. destination finally will be settled this week.
- Minor League signings don’t tend to get much attention, but at Sports on Earth, Jack Moore discusses six who could make an impact this season, including the Rangers’ Colby Lewis and the Brewers’ Mark Reynolds.
- Milwaukee added another veteran first baseman on a Minor League deal, bringing in Lyle Overbay for his second stint with the club.
- Rangers lefty Matt Harrison, coming back from an injury-plagued ‘13, is on track to begin the season in the team’s starting rotation, which needs all the help it can get with Derek Holland likely sidelined for the first half. As T.R. Sullivan writes, Texas is mulling its fifth-starter options, which include internal candidates, as well as free agents.
- With Kershaw’s signing done, the Dodgers could have Hanley Ramirez next on their agenda.
- In his latest inbox, MLB.com Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian explains why the Tribe is unlikely to trade either shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera or pitcher Justin Masterson before the start of the season, despite both players being one year from free agency.
- Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch tackles several topics in his own inbox, including the possibility of a Stephen Drew signing or an Ichiro Suzuki trade.
— Andrew Simon