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Dodgers sign Matt Kemp to eight-year, $160 million extension

Nov 14, 2011, 2:50 PM EDT

Matt Kemp Getty Images

UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today says it’ll be a done deal as soon as Kemp passes a physical exam. Eight years and $160 million, which makes it the largest contract in National League history and will keep Kemp in Los Angeles through age 34.

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Last week Matt Kemp‘s agent sounded optimistic about the 26-year-old center fielder working out a long-term contract extension with the Dodgers and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two sides are “in serious discussions on an eight-year, $160 million contract.”

Kemp earned $7.1 million this year and is arbitration eligible for the final time in 2012, with a huge raise due following an MVP-caliber campaign that saw him hit .324 with 39 homers and 40 steals while leading the league with 129 RBIs and 115 runs.

Coming anywhere close to that type of season again in 2012 would set Kemp up for a massive payday as a 27-year-old free agent at a premium defensive position, but he’s also just one season removed from hitting .249 with a .760 OPS that was 226 points below this year’s mark.

Another factor is the Dodgers’ tenuous ownership situation, which has people speculating that they won’t be able to make plays for top-notch free agents, but Rosenthal’s report that they’re far along in discussions with Kemp suggests Frank McCourt’s exit won’t keep the team from locking up their superstar to a huge deal.

$160 million would be tied for the seventh-largest contract in MLB history, matching Manny Ramirez’s deal with the Red Sox in 2001. Troy Tulowitzki recently agreed to a six-year, $119 million extension with the Rockies that brought Colorado’s total commitment to the shortstop to $157.5 million over 10 seasons, but unlike Kemp he was under team control for several more seasons and not on the verge of cashing in as an in-his-prime a free agent.

Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia are the only players to get a contract surpassing $160 million.

  1. dodger88 - Nov 14, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Great news and they should be able to take care of Kershaw next offseason. If only they could be a player for Fielder.

    • skids003 - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:26 PM

      Yeah, if they can keep Kemp away from Rhianna, he’ll be a great one for awhile.

      • xmatt0926x - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

        Don’t worry. Rhianna is cute and all, but $160 million gets you into a higher echelon of babes. I’m guessing he starts hittin’ all the Russian Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. That should keep his attitude ok for a few seasons.

      • lanflfan - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:41 PM

        I also hope it has an anti-Rhianna clause in it :)

    • tastybasslines - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:02 PM

      Fielder sucks. Wait until you see him tank the later years of the contract. Better to give a younger player with promise a contract instead.

  2. theonlynolan - Nov 14, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    If I’m kemp I’d be much more willing to accept a 5 year 100 million dollar extension. Hitting free agency at 31 allows room for one more huge deal rather than reaching it at 34.

    • icanspeel - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      That is assuming he keeps up his production. All it takes is 1 injury and then he’d be kicking himself. Besides.. if he can’t live off whatever is waiting for him after an 8 year 160 mill contract then he has more serious issues.

  3. paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    “Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia are the only players to get a contract surpassing $160 million.”

    one of these things is not like the others….

    • Gardenhire's Cat - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      CC’s obese?

    • lanflfan - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      Four Yankees…and a Joe Mauer. Definitely not like the others.

  4. btwicey - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Great sign, had to be done guys a beast in all areas of the game and by all accounts a champion bloke too.

  5. sdelmonte - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Part of me hates any contract longer than five years. Even for younger players. And part of me wonders where the money is coming from.

    But as gifts to the fans go, this isn’t a bad one. It shows that there won’t be a total fire sale, and that the next owners will have assets to build around.

    Next on the list: Kershaw?

    • sportsdrenched.com - Nov 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM

      No, my sources tell me they’re trading Kershaw to the Royals for their entire farm system. And by sources I mean I just made that up.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM

        So, you are going with the Buster Olney approach to the hot stove?

      • sportsdrenched.com - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:40 PM

        Exactly

  6. jdillydawg - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    It’s nice to see them drop some big money on a quality player who has proven himself. It may be the only thing that keeps them interesting next year until they rebuild their finances to get Kemp more support. Maybe in three years, we see the Boys in Blue back in the World Series!

  7. rwjk - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    $20 mil a year to play a f*cking game. Still get dumbfounded every time I see numbers like that for guys that are dumber than a doorknob

  8. dickclydesdale - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Kemp is a more complete player then Pujols or Fielder so they got their star locked up.
    Now they need Ethier to step up his game to the 30hr/100 rbi player that he was before & have Dee Gordon run wild to set the table and they can compete for the west title.

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