It is now official that the Los Angeles Dodgers will open their 2021 Spring Training on February 18th, with pitchers and catchers reporting. Of course, with this still being Pandemic Times, everything is always subject to change.
Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union have agreed, as of now, to start the season on time. There also will be no expanded playoffs and no DH for the National League this season. There will, however, be seven-inning double headers and a man on second base to start extra innings. Both of those are carry-overs from the shortened 2020 season.
The regular season is slated to begin on Thursday, April 1, for the Dodgers, as they take on the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field at 1:10pm PT. The game will air on ESPN. We will see immediately if the new baseballs, which are supposed to be deadened some, are flying less at altitude.
The opener for that day is yet to be announced, of course, but one might wager that it will be bestowed upon Clayton Kershaw, who has started every Opening Day in the last decade that he hasn’t been injured.
Kershaw recently had an interview with Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. He opened up about many things, including what he might do after his contract runs out at the end of this season.
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.”
Throughout the interview Kershaw talks of his relief at having finally won a World Series and that he doesn’t know how much longer he’d like to pitch. He also mentions that while playing with one team your whole career is very cool, it’s not something he worries about.
President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman is also mentioned in the article, saying that keeping Kershaw a Dodger for life is something the team would definitely like to see. Most fans of the Dodgers feel the same way.
On Wednesday, the Dodgers reached an agreement with Kershaw’s rotation mate. Walker Buehler may be the team’s ace now, especially after his dominant playoff performances.
Buehler and the Dodgers avoided arbitration with the two sides agreeing to a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $8 million. The righty will receive $2.75 million in 2021, and $3.25 million in 2022. It includes escalations of $500,000 for 14 games started, and then 16, 18, 20, 24, and 28. The contract also includes $1.125 million should Walker win the Cy Young, and $625,000 if he places second or third in Cy Young voting.
The only player left now that has not reached an agreement for his contract is Austin Barnes.