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.Max Scherzer may be seeking an

  • SAN DIEGO - Clayton Kershaw is considered the top pitcher in baseball, with three Cy Young Awards in four years for the Los Angeles Dodgers, an NL Most Valuable Player award and a $215 million, seven-year contract.Max Scherzer may be seeking an even bigger deal as his talks on the free-agent market move forward.Im not sure Kershaw is relevant, agent Scott Boras said Wednesday at the winter meetings, because hes not a free agent.Jon Lester became the first top-level, free-agent starting pitcher to reach an agreement this off-season, a $155 million, six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs that came together late Tuesday night and still must be finalized.Scherzer turned down an offer from Detroit last March that would have paid $144 million from 2015-20. Kershaw has the largest contract for a pitcher in total dollars and has the sports highest average salary at $30.7 million.The prominent pitchers that have signed, (Justin) Verlander or (Felix) Hernandez or Kershaw, were not free-agent players, Boras said. And certainly if you put a performance like Kershaw into a free-agent market, youre going to get a much, much different calibration of value.Scherzers negotiations figure to stretch on for weeks or even into next year.But other players were on the move or close to switching teams.The Dodgers acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Angels and were working to obtain shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies in a remake of their middle infield.In a flurry of moves late Wednesday, the Dodgers dealt All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, right-hander Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and a player to be named or cash to the Miami Marlins as part of a seven-player trade for left-hander Andrew Heaney, right-hander Chris Hatcher, infielder Kike Hernandez and catcher Austin Barnes.The Dodgers then sent Heaney, considered one of baseballs top pitching prospects, to the Angels for Kendrick.Philadelphia started retooling by shipping left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo to Pittsburgh for minor league lefty Joely Rodriguez. Boston was discussing a deal to obtain left-hander Wade Miley from Arizona.Among free agents, Houston agreed to an $18.5 million, three-year contract with Luke Gregerson and a $12.5 million, two-year deal with Pat Neshek, people familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deals with the right-handed relievers were subject to physicals.And the Chicago White Sox finalized a $46 million, four-year contract with closer David Robertson after signing first baseman Adam LaRoche and reliever Zach Duke, and acquiring pitcher Jeff Samardzija in a trade with Oakland.I love what Rick Hahn has been doing this off-season, Robertson said of Chicagos general manager. I feel like hes building a good squad thats really going to be a competitor next year, and Im hoping that we end up back in the playoffs.Lesters deal could open up the marketplace for other free agents and for top pitchers who may be available in trades, such as Philadelphias Cole Hamels, Detroits David Price, Cincinnatis Johnny Cueto and Washingtons Jordan Zimmermann.That pitching market is going to move fast, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.Lester helped the Red Sox win World Series titles in 2007 and 13. Boston made a $70 million, four-year offer during spring training, and after the Red Sox couldnt reach an agreement on a new deal in July, they traded him to Oakland. Boston fell about $20 million short with its offer this week.I think we would have liked to have had more chance for dialogue prior to the season, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. Why that didnt happen, maybe theres more than one reason. I think we can certainly learn from the process.San Francisco and the Los Angeles Dodgers also had sought the left-hander.I think it raises the bar on all pitching, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. Heretofore, theres been a lot of conversation about how valuable offence could be and, of course, we got (Giancarlo) Stanton, we got the big $300 million-plus contract. But right behind that, the next-highest is Lester. So I think it re-establishes the notion that pitching is still at a premium and highly desirable and costly.While some teams were making progress toward the moves they wanted, others preferred to be patient. Spring training is more than two months away.Were in San Diego. Ill use a surfing analogy, Cashman said. If we see the right wave, well get on the board and ride it. But otherwise, well just sit and wait for the next wave to come.___AP Sports Writer Howie Rumberg contributed to this report. 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Forced to travel more than 11,000 miles through the air during the trip because the Staples Center was occupied by the Grammy Awards, Griffin looked right at home in Milwaukee. After Griffin capped off a decisive 21-2 run in the second quarter with a three-point play, about the only drama left was to count up how many dunks Lob Citys stars would throw down the rest of the night. "When we were flying yesterday, flying here, I remember guys saying they cant wait to get home, stuff like that," Griffin said. "But we knew we still had a game to play, some business to take care of." Los Angeles finished its trip 5-2, a franchise best for their annual Grammy sojourn. Darren Collison added 15 points and seven assists. Ersan Ilyasova had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bucks, an NBA-worst 8-36. "Against a team like the Clippers, you have to be clicking on all cylinders," coach Larry Drew said. "Theyre playing extremely, extremely well. The low-post game has been really good." The 6-foot-10 Griffin alone was a handful in the second quarter. He backed down Ilyasova in the post, and then followed with a steal and breakaway dunk for a 49-36 lead with 3:32 left after Ilyasova mishandled a pass on the other end. "The defence is what gave us those 114 points. There in the second quarter, middle of the second quarter, we got stops," Griffin said. At one point in the run, Griffin got into a brief shoving match with Khris Middleton (14 points) in a scramble for a loose ball. Each player was assessed a technical fouls. The fray only seemed to rile up the Clippers big man, who finished 8 of 13 from the field. "I dont think (Blake) needs the anger to do it. He just does it," coach Doc Rivers said. "He has been our go-to guy down the strettch.dddddddddddd" Later, Bucks guard Luke Ridnour lost the ball on a drive into the lane and Los Angeles went on the break. Griffin in transition hit a layup around two defenders and got fouled for the three-point play to cap the big run. By that time it was 57-36 with 1:33 in the second quarter. At least the dedicated fans that stuck around were treated to free hot chocolate on the concourse, a team promotion to fill the arena while arctic cold gripped the region. The Clippers then led by as much as 39, and the lead fell below 20 just once in the second half. Milwaukee did play with more energy two nights after Drew closed the locker room and challenged players lackadaisical style in a 25-point loss to the Hawks. The Bucks just couldnt keep up with the faster and more athletic Clippers. Drew said his team simply missed shots during the decisive run -- including some good looks -- and couldnt answer the opponents momentum plays. "You just have to stay the course. When things happen, sometimes you have plays that are rather deflating," Caron Butler (11 points) said. "Take the ball out, continue to get out in transition, keep the momentum and try to play our style of basketball." Ilyasova was 6 of 22 from the field, and the Bucks shot just 38 per cent on the evening. Things looked promising early for Milwaukee, in desperate need of a spark to make something out of this wayward season. Middletons jumper with 9:58 in the second got the Bucks within 34-32. But as often has been the case this season, a spurt of turnovers and sloppy play spelled big trouble for Milwaukee. Notes: Rivers said guard Chris Paul (separated shoulder) was running and starting to shoot again, but there was otherwise no change in his timetable to return around the All-Star break next month. Asked if he played a role in deciding when Paul was ready, Rivers answered "I never have anything to do with that. Im not a real doctor, as you know. I thought you knew that." ... Bucks starting centre Larry Sanders and veteran guard O.J. Mayo each sat out a second game in a week due to flu-like symptoms. 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