2B Jeff Kent signed a $11.5 million, one-year contract extension with the Dodgers on Wednesday, a pact that includes a club option for 2008 ($9 million) that becomes guaranteed if the Bad Lt. makes 500 plate appearances the prior year.
My initial reaction to this announcement was “you can purchase many pairs of sunglasses and little shorts for $11 million.” Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Wiseman, however, has a more sophisticated take.
It’s possible that Kent is one of those guys, like Roger Clemens, who is going to be performing at a high level past his 40th birthday. Nonetheless, the move comes as a shock, with the combination of age and recent wrist surgery raising questions about whether this would be the year Kent finally tails off, let alone 2007 or 2008.
It seems like a strange time to extend the commitment. I imagine that this is in part to try to keep the prickly player a little more content for the coming 162 games, along with a true belief on Dodger general manager Ned Colletti’s part that Kent is far from done.
On a different note, this definitely raises more questions about the future of Cesar Izturis and Willy Aybar in the organization. With Bill Mueller and Andy LaRoche at third base, Rafael Furcal at shortstop, Kent at second base and James Loney (and possibly Nomar Garciaparra) at first base from now through 2007, there isn’t a place for both Izturis and Aybar, if either. Even if Kent were to move to first base in 2007, only one spot opens up.
Right elbow troubles have put Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett on the shelf to start the season ; Burnett is expected to miss at least two starts.