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Monday Morning Manager: Kershaw showing his value

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in a spending mode, and why not these days? They’re running away with the NL West and seem to have a team that’s built for the postseason.

But even they have to admit that signing up Clayton Kershaw long-term is gonna require another expensive line of credit.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported this week that Kershaw and the Dodgers were at one point close on a deal that would have made Kershaw $210 million over the next seven seasons, which would be the largest ever given to a pitcher. Talks have broken down since then, however.

Giving a pitcher that kind of money is fraught with risks, but if you’re gonna bet on a player with that kind of money, it’s good to make it on a 25-year-old who has won a Cy Young Award already and has never been seriously injured. And oh, by the way, he’s the best pitcher in baseball right now.

Kershaw has given up a total of six earned runs in eight starts since the All-Star break, and just one in his last three starts. He’s gone eight innings in five of those six starts since the break. He’s 13-7 on the season with an MLB-best 1.72 ERA.

Kershaw is making $11.75 million this season. He’s eligible for arbitration this offseason. Look for the Dodgers and Kershaw to get something done by then.

On to this week’s Monday Morning Manager:

WHO’S HOT

Jose Fernandez, Marlins: He’s entering Kershaw’s neighborhood already. Just imagine if this guy didn’t play on the worst-hitting team in baseball. Fernandez has an 0.82 ERA in August, with 41 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Evan Longoria, Rays: Hit a home run on Sunday — his 28th — which is just five away from his career high. He has six homers in August, including four in the last week.

Jason Castro, Astros: If you don’t play fantasy baseball, he’s virtually anonymous. But Castro is becoming one of the best offensive catchers in the game this season with 17 home runs. He’s hitting .348 in August.

WHO’S NOT

Starlin Castro, Cubs: While one Castro is having a career year, another promising Castro has had a disastrous one. The 23-year-old, a lifetime .283 hitter who led the NL in hits in 2011, is hitting .238 overall and .181 in August.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year is having a tough 2013. He has an 8.00 ERA in four August starts and his ERA for the season is at 5.01. He’s given up 20 home runs, including two in his last start against Baltimore that only lasted 13 batters.

Brandon McCarthy, Diamondbacks: Seemed like a great breakout candidate, but he’s had a tough 2013, going 2-8 with a 5.44 ERA. He gave up seven earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings at Cincinnati last Wednesday.

TOP 10

1. Boston Red Sox (77-55, last week No. 4)

2. Detroit Tigers (77-53, last week No. 3)

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (76-54, last week No. 1)

4. Atlanta Braves (78-52, last week No. 2)

5. St. Louis Cardinals (76-54, last week No. 7)

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (76-54, last week No. 6)

7. Texas Rangers (75-55, last week No. 5)

8. Cincinnati Reds (74-57, last week No. 8)

9. Tampa Bay Rays (74-54, last week No. 9)

10. Oakland A’s (72-57, last week No. 10)

BOTTOM 5

26. Minnesota Twins (57-72, last week unranked)

27. Chicago Cubs (55-75, last week unranked)

28. Chicago White Sox (55-75, last week No. 29)

29. Miami Marlins (49-80, last week No. 28)

30. Houston Astros (43-86, last week No. 30)

Source: About.com
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