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$30 million man: Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers reportedly agree to a seven-year, $215 million deal

Jan 15, 2014, 4:24 PM EST

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game One Getty Images

People were throwing around numbers like $300 million, and this isn’t that. But it’s pretty incredible all the same: ESPN is reporting that the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have agreed on a seven year, $215 million contract, with an opt-out after five years. That breaks down to an average annual value of over $30 million a year.

There are good things for both sides here. The five-year opt-out provision gives Kershaw a chance to make even more than this if, come five years from now, he’s even better or still elite and the top dollars for pitchers have gone up.  Put differently: the guy who just signed a gigantic deal at age 25 can do it again at age 30 is he wants to. The amount of money this young man stands to make in the next 10-12 years is mind-boggling.

And even if the the opt-out provision is not exercised, the Dodgers are only on the hook for Kershaw through his age-32 season, which does not present nearly the sort of risk that many mega-deals do, as they often take players through their late 30s or into their 40s.

Kershaw has won two of the past three NL Cy Young Awards and was the runner up the third time. He’s 77-46 in his career with a 2.60 ERA in 184 career games.  In the past three seasons he is 51-23 with an ERA of 2.21.

He’s quite simply the best pitcher in the game. And he is now the highest paid player — on an average annual salary basis — in all of baseball.

  1. sawxalicious - Jan 15, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    This makes a lot of sense for the Dodgers. Not only is Kershaw the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s also the face of their franchise.

  2. crackersnap - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    So now that the Dodgers just added $30MM in AAV to their payroll, pre-arb signings, does this push them out of the Tanaka market?

  3. gattaga72 - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Kershaw will dominate as long as he doesn’t try to hard to live up to this massive contract too soon…dominance will start in Sydney !!!!!

  4. uyf1950 - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    A bit more dollars on average then I thought he might get but fewer years. But It does work to both the Dodgers and Kershaw advantage. The Dodgers get a break in the years and Kershaw gets to cash in big time again at 30 years old if he continues on the track he has been on pitching wise.

    My guess is this contract that Close negotiated gives you a glimpse into what it will probably take to get Tanaka. I’m going to guess 7 years with an opt-out after 5 for $20MM per +/-. The team looking to sign Tanaka is probably looking at a total of $160MM ($140MM for Tanaka and $20MM posting fee) plus or minus.

  5. sanzarq - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Everybody just loves to pay gobs of moolah to go see a game, huh? Why should anybody be worth this kind of dough? Obviously, there will never be a salary cap in Baseball.

    STUPID!

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      I’d recommend not watching anymore. Save yourself the angst. Nobody will miss you.

  6. saintsfire - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    The Kershaws we like, not just the talent but all the other things like their charisma, smile, work ethic, attitude, humility, competitive drive, and senses of responsibility.

    Do wish to see it all continue.

    Both sides were smart to avoid ARod type terms the fans and the league should be thankful things could have easily gotten a bit out of hand.

  7. keltictim - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Ticket prices must be nuts out there! I know before I left Boston I was pushed out of Fenway due to the prices. I’m not mad it’s what it takes to win championships it just stinks for the low middle class man with a family. One day I’ll have 500 bucks to blow on a game. It might just be me and my sons no wife but what are you gonna do.

    • Glenn - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:46 PM

      I agree with your sentiment of ticket prices, but salaries are independent of them. Ticket prices are about supply and demand. When the Red Sox ticket prices forced me out of regularly attending games in the early 2000’s, scalpers were getting at least double what the Red Sox were charging, The market clearly dictated that the Red Sox were charging less than the actual value of their tickets. If people aren’t willing to pay, then prices come down. Owners need to have a certain number of fans in the stands to add additional profits of concession and merchandise.

  8. delsj - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Sounds like one of those robo-ads you see on here all the time:

    Ellen’s husband earned thirty million dollars in nine months working 1 day a week – ask me how!

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      Do you really think pitchers only work when it’s their turn in the rotation?

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