Now that the Dodgers' season is over, our attention shifts to offseason roster moves. There will be none more important than the inevitable Clayton Kershaw contract extension. There are more signs the Dodgers will lock up their ace left-handed pitcher this winter, including a report from Buster Olney of ESPN that the Dodgers discussed "a deal in the range of $300 million" during the season.
The Olney report has a lot of information we already knew, including that Kershaw wasn't too keen on contract negotiations during the season. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported in June that the Dodgers and Kershaw discussed several proposals, including in the range of 10 years, $250 million and 12 years, $300 million.
Olney added this:
But the negotiations progressed enough that there is confidence among some with knowledge of the talks that a long-term deal -- perhaps more conservative in length than the massive contract proposed by the Dodgers -- will be concluded this winter, with a significant portion of money being devoted to a charity of Kershaw's choosing.
In November Kershaw will win his second career Cy Young Award after going 16-9 with a 1.83 ERA in 2013, with 232 strikeouts in 236 innings. He is widely considered the best pitcher in the sport. Here's how good Kershaw is: even with his blow-up start in Game 6 of the NLCS on Friday, his playoff ERA this season is just 3.13.
Given all the expenditures by the ownership group since they took over in May 2012, it would completely shocking if Kershaw left via free agency after the 2014 season. He's arbitration eligible next season, so it's logical that a contract extension will be completed before his next start.
The timing of the contract might be up in the air, and the actual amount is not yet known, but what seems certain is that the 25-year-old will soon be the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, and deservedly so.