Phillies

Can Phillies get on Clayton Kershaw's radar if he opts out?

Can Phillies get on Clayton Kershaw's radar if he opts out?

Updated: 10:04 p.m.

Two left-handed pitchers with options on their contracts could change the complexion of the free-agent market for the Phillies and any other team seeking starting pitching.

Clayton Kershaw has until 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday to decide whether to exercise the two years and $65 million remaining on his Dodgers contract.

Update: The Dodgers announced late Wednesday night that they’ve pushed the deadline for Kershaw’s decision back to Friday at 4 p.m.

The Cubs have a $20 million club option to keep Cole Hamels for 2019. The option can be bought out for $6 million, but if the Cubs were to go that route, the $6 million would be paid by the Rangers as part of this past summer's trade.

The Cubs are fully expected to retain Hamels, though, after he dazzled for them in 12 starts. They're a big-market team with rotation needs. No reason not to keep him for one year at $20 mil.

What will Kershaw do?

The Dodgers are the only franchise Kershaw has ever known. He's had a mind-blowing career, with a 2.39 ERA in just under 2,100 innings. Yes, there are the well-documented stumbles in October, but those represent about five percent of Kershaw's career innings. No team in baseball will hold it against him or let it diminish its interest in him. Even with the fastball velocity decrease, Kershaw has adjusted his repertoire to remain an ace.

If Kershaw does opt out, it could simply be to conjure a bigger, long-term deal out of the Dodgers. If not, he will absolutely go to the best winning situation. If he becomes available, every club will contact his representatives and all of the big-market, win-now teams will make enticing offers.

It just seems impossible, Kershaw ending up in Philadelphia, even if he opts out and the Phillies also prove they can win now by signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. That just wouldn't be enough of a guarantee at a ring for Kershaw, who will be 31 years old on March 19. He has reached the World Series in consecutive years only to watch his team fall short.

It's hard to envision any scenario in which the 2019 Phillies offer him a better chance at a ring than the 2019 Yankees or Dodgers.

How could the Phillies even pique Kershaw's interest?

Maybe with a one-year, $45 million offer? Anything short of that probably won't even resonate. He'd be able to get $35 million a year for multiple years from multiple teams. He'd be able to get a huge one-year guarantee from many teams. 

And quite frankly, unless the Phillies make a series of awesome offseason moves, adding Kershaw alone won't make them a true World Series contender in 2019.

The following players have already had their options picked up:

• Madison Bumgarner: $12M club option

• Carlos Carrasco: $9.75M club option

• Sean Doolittle: $6M club option

• Brett Gardner: Yankees declined his $12.5M club option but brought him back for $7.5M.

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Gabe Kapler recalls the challenge of his final days in Philadelphia

Gabe Kapler recalls the challenge of his final days in Philadelphia

SAN DIEGO — The beginning wasn’t easy for Gabe Kapler in Philadelphia and neither was the end. He was booed before managing his first game in Citizens Bank Park in 2018. Eighteen months later, he twisted in the wind for 10 days as Phillies ownership pondered whether to bring him back for the 2020 season or let him go.

Eventually, Kapler was fired but he wasn’t out of work long as the San Francisco Giants hired him to manage their club in November.

At the winter meetings Tuesday, Kapler recalled waiting for John Middleton’s verdict over those uncomfortable final 10 days in Philadelphia.

“Those ten days were challenging because I definitely wanted the opportunity to continue to manage the Phillies,” Kapler said. “I wanted to see the work that we put in, and I wanted to see it through the finish line. In my mind, that finish line was still in the future and in the distance, and I think there's going to be a lot of great things accomplished in Philadelphia next year.

“But it was difficult, and sometimes there's a real silver lining to those situations. I think the Philadelphia Phillies got a great manager in Joe Girardi in place, and I think I have an opportunity to manage a club that I'm incredibly excited about, and the people that I'm working with, I'm really excited about as well. So I think, interestingly, even though it was challenging, those 10 days, it worked out pretty well for the Phillies, and I think it worked out really well for the Giants as well.”

Kapler was asked what he said to Middleton upon learning that he would not return to manage the Phillies.

“The last words were 'thank you for the opportunity,' ” he said.

Kapler was asked how he might have been able to save his job in Philadelphia.

“Probably win more baseball games,” he said.

Kapler’s record in Philadelphia was 161-163. He learned a lot in those two seasons.

“I think the thing that stands out to me is I'm excited about getting every possible strategic advantage as a manager and as part of a coaching staff,” Kapler said. “I think that one of the things that I learned is that sometimes those small strategic advantages come at the expense of some confidence from a player.

“So I think I did a better job in 2019 than I did in 2018 of blending those two things, blending the small strategic advantages with the confidence level of the players, and I think I'm going to do a better job having learned some of those lessons in '18, in 2020, without overcorrecting. I think that's an important part as well. Bringing it back to the middle is important, too, after an overcorrection is made.

“So, specifically, it's just striking the right balance between getting small strategic advantages and confidence levels of players.”

Kapler will be back in Philadelphia with the Giants August 7-10 — unless he sneaks into town earlier for one of his favorite steaks at Suraya.

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Phillies fans, you're gonna love Didi Gregorius based on his Twitter personality

didi-emojis.jpg
USA Today Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Phillies fans, you're gonna love Didi Gregorius based on his Twitter personality

MLB free agency is in full swing and the newest addition to the Phillies, Didi Gregorius, has quite the personality on Twitter.

More specifically, he really enjoys tweeting after his team wins ... especially with emojis.

It almost feels like Groundhog Day scrolling through his feed. And by the looks of things, he rarely forgets.

Take a look:

Of course, these are only a few of the many he has tweeted out. If you have the time though, look at the rest — there are definitely some hidden gems.

Will he continue this tradition with his new club? Will we be able to see tweets from him stating that the bullpen was worth four fire emojis? What emojis will he assign for Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins and the rest of the team?

These are the hard-hitting questions we want answered right after the news of a signing breaks — but we'll just have to wait and see once Spring Training comes to a close in a few months.

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