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The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw could reach a “record-breaking” extension this week

Jan 15, 2014, 9:34 AM EDT

We know it’s coming sooner or later. Rosenthal says sooner:

The Los Angeles Dodgers and left-hander Clayton Kershaw could agree to a record-breaking deal this week.

The Dodgers, according to major league sources, want to sign Kershaw to a contract extension by Friday, when clubs must exchange contract proposals with players who filed for arbitration.

That’s not some hard deadline of course, as there is nothing stopping the sides from talking even after numbers are exchanged. It’s just a reflection of the reality that, once arbitration numbers are out there, it’s another datapoint that goes into the negotiation and makes it harder to do.

Kershaw, the reigning Cy Young Award winner and is, from where I’m sitting at least, the most valuable pitcher in the game today. The Dodgers apparently think so as well, as it was reported in October that they had offered him a $300 million extension during the season or, at the very least, had begun discussions in that direction.

Any deal they do is either going to be in that ballpark or is going to contain incentives and structuring of some sort that will get it close to it.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Best pitcher in baseball. He did well to wait – given how stupid the money has been this offseason he’s going to get a significant premium for that patience.

  2. fanofevilempire - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Straight cash homey!

  3. wonkypenguin - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    I love Clayton Kershaw. He is my favorite pitcher, hands down, no questions asked. But $300 million for a pitcher just screams crazy. And I know it’s the Dodgers and they poop $300 million every day, but still. It’s just an absurd amount of money.

  4. yahmule - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Clayton Kershaw deserves every good thing that comes his way.

    http://www.kershawschallenge.com/

    • stex52 - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      I don’t know anything about that or other charities he may be giving to, but it looks good to me. Excellent to see a young guy like that realizing he is very fortunate and that he should be giving back. Good for Kershaw.

      Wish our society encouraged that more as a behavior.

  5. misterscmo - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    I’m increasingly unable to adjust to the money side of the game. About the time I assign relative values to players and teams, the cash floodgates open a little more. I do love baseball and have tried to focus on the game and my favorite players and teams and tune out the money, but.it’s becoming harder by the year. (I remember struggling with this in the Steinbrenner Seventies). Is the financial aspect of the game reported more prominently than in years past? Sure seems like it.I love baseball for all the of stats generated, but the not the dollar signs.

    • yahmule - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Sports salaries are huge, but are they really out of whack compared to what other entertainers earn? Judge Judy worked 52 days and made $47 million in 2012.

  6. Professor Fate - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    If any athlete can be said to have earned such a whopping contract it would have to be Kershaw. Pitching performance value to the team as its ace aside, his character is the polar opposite of someone like Alex Rodriguez. Many see $300M as an insane amount of money, but market forces dictate such numbers based on the results of Kershaw’s pitching alone. When you look at his body of work as a whole (positive community influence reflects well on the team and adds casual fans) and the potential income that provides for the Dodgers, then a contract of that size makes plenty of sense.

    Throw in his young age, high level of maturity, proven results, and his potential as a clubhouse leader, and it becomes a no-brainer for the Dodgers to insure he stays with the team for a long time. He’ll be an excellent mentor for other pitchers coming up to the club from the minors as well (Onelki Garcia, Ross Stripling, Matt Magill, Chris Anderson, Zach Lee, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, Jarret Martin).

    • twenty1miles - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Well said.

    • moogro - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Plus, you can be assured that some of that will eventually find it’s way into a charity since he’s a got a solid track record of charitable giving.

  7. aceshigh11 - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    I used to be somewhat turned off by the money some of these athletes make, but I’ve come around to the opinion that I’d rather have THEM making the money…

    …you know, the ones who put the years of hard work in to become the best athletes on the planet, and who put a product out on the field that people pay to see…

    …than have the owners hoarding the cash, as it used to be in the old days.

  8. nymets4ever - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    He’s a Texan, still young enough to fit a rebuilding team, and the Astros have a mountain of cash burning a hole in their pockets. Just sayin…

    • stex52 - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Nice thought, but I’m afraid we will find the Dodgers have the inside track on this one.

      Besides, I bet the Astros rein it in a little bit on any bigger investments until they straighten out the nightmare that is their cable deal. Once they lock in some cash flow from cable I think you will start seeing bigger moves.

  9. cackalackyank - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Interesting timing. The same week that happens to be the last week of the Tanaka posting.

  10. flash8910 - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Can anyone name a long term sport contract that both parties were happy with by the end of the contract? With $300 mil deal, I am assuming it’s at least 10 or more years.

    The contracts that I am aware of (ones that were signed awhile back so we have enough info):

    – A-Rod. How is this working out? It killed the Rangers. Then the Yankees re-upped him thru 2018. How are they feeling right now?

    – Pujos. Angels kick themselves everyday.

    – Manny Ramirez. Manny being Manny so BoSox dumped him at the end.

    The only decent one that I am aware of is Jeter. However, while Jeter was the face of the franchise, he is no longer the consistent .300 hitter, and last season was pretty much lost to injuries.

    Kershaw is 25. After 30, anything can happen to a player. I guess I would be more open to a 5 year $150 mil VS 10+ year at $300 million.

    • yahmule - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      I think the Tigers are pretty pleased with the eight years they’re locked into with Miggy.

    • Reflex - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      I disagree with your assessment on all of those.

      A-Rod: While it is true the Yankees are kicking themselves, but the Rangers are not and were not. They signed a TV deal that was predicated on them signing A-Rod. The tv deal was for exactly $250 mil over ten years. Then they dumped A-Rod on the Yankees a few years later. They made out like bandits in that deal.

      Pujols: Much like A-Rod, signing Pujols was part of what got them the huge deal they got in their tv deal. They won’t be kicking themselves, even in year ten, given the huge amount of money, about the same as their entire team payroll, that the Pujols deal helped them attain.

      Manny: The Red Sox deal with Manny was very favorable, including several club only options at a locked in rate of $20 mil. When they were done with him they were easily able to send him elsewhere and were not obligated to anything long term. The seasons they paid for they certainly got full value for, even when he was dogging it.

      I would add Cano to this list. Regardless of whether he is a $24 mil/year player or not, the M’s are in the middle of negotiating a tv deal. Signing Cano will help them in maximizing that deal and the rumors have it between 4-5x his annual salary.

      People forget the business reality which is often considerably different than the on field reality. They also underestimate player salary inflation and how often a ‘bad contract’ is really not that much of the payroll by the final few years due to payroll inflation.

      • flash8910 - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        Sadly, I can see some truth to that. The Angels might be the best example. The casual fan may hear the name Pujols and want to watch him play (TV and ticket sales revenue), while the real fans know the guy has sucked and no way deserves the $$$, and there is like 8 more years to go, and his play will not lead the Angels to the playoffs.

        Sad fact of baseball or any professional sports period.

  11. aphillieated - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Are they still in play for Tanaka if they extend Kershaw?

    • cackalackyank - Jan 15, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      The LAD have money to set money on fire. I do think it is interesting that this popped up right as we go in to the last week of the Tanaka post, though. They really should have enough $ to do both, but one has to wonder. If they do land Tanaka and do this deal the same week it figures to be a 450-500 million dollar week. (@300-350 for Kershaw and @ 150 for Tanaka) Part of me thinks this means that a) they know they have Tanaka at “x” $ or b) they know they do not so they can open the wallet extra wide now for Kershaw.

  12. buffalowned - Jan 15, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    30 mil a year for a pitcher….10 years 240 mil for a player in his 30’s. 7 years 130 mil for a decent player past 30. Yup…baseball just keeps getting worse and worse (go ahead and click the thumbs down…i’ll care about as much as any normal sports fan outside of Boston cared about the world series)

    • Reflex - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      What about these contracts makes the game of baseball worse? And would you rather see players get the money or owners? Player share of revenue has been in decline over the past decade despite the rise of salaries.

      • buffalowned - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        It makes it impossible for small market teams to keep their own stars or sign good players. It also allows big market teams to sign whoever they want. I’m a Yankees fan and honestly I can’t stand the way their roster looks. A bunch of 30+ overpaid guy with no true identity once Jeter is gone. I really don’t think I’ll watch this year and i used to watch almost every game. These contracts rarely help a franchise and you’re crazy if you think they’re good for baseball

      • Reflex - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        How is that any different than how it was ten or twenty years ago? This has been reality since Free Agency first hit. The alternative was that stars had no mobility and had to play for whatever ownership wished or they could skip playing baseball for a living.

        The counter to your point really is revenue sharing. If you feel your team cannot compete, push for more revenue sharing. It has already done a very good job negating that edge and even teams like the Blue Jays (for better or worse) have made huge splashes with contracts.

        Honestly I think you would be best served by simply not reading the articles about contracts. Baseball is a business and always was, but its one that is more equitable now to its employees than it ever was in the past.

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