Felix Hernandez contract: Clayton Kershaw just got richer

Otto Greule Jr

The record $175 million contract signed by the Mariners' ace will certainly affect the Dodgers' ace. But will Kershaw be the first to top $200 million?

Mariners ace Felix Hernandez looks to remain in Seattle for a long time, and his blockbuster seven-year, $175 million contract extension, as reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, has ramifications for a pair of Dodgers, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.

For one, Greinke's status as the highest-paid pitcher by average annual value in baseball history lasted all of two months, as his six-year, $147 million contract with the Dodgers (an average of $24.5 million per year) is now eclipsed.

But more importantly, the Hernandez contract sets the bar for Kershaw in any sort of extension talks with the Dodgers.

First, it's important to note that Kershaw and Hernandez are not completely analogous, but it's close. Hernandez was under contract for two more years at a total of $39.5 million, and his new contract will replace that, and he's now signed through 2019.

Kershaw is signed for 2013 at $11 million (plus $2 million deferred from last year as part of his two-year, $19 million contract), and is eligible for salary arbitration in 2014. So in that respect, both Hernandez and Kershaw were looking at free agency after the 2014 campaign, with Kershaw heading into his age-27 season and Hernandez heading into his age-29 year.

But before we get excited and start throwing around the $200 million mark for Kershaw's next contract, let's not go crazy. I don't think Kershaw will sign for $200 million, for a few reasons:

  • The last eight-year contract signed by a pitcher was Mike Hampton 12 years ago. Kershaw would need an eight-year contract — which might not be out of line since it would only take Kershaw through his age-33 season, still relatively young — to hit $200 million, unless...
  • If Kershaw signs for seven years, he would have to average over $28.5 million per season to hit $200 million, a 14.3% raise over what King Felix is about to receive. One could argue that Kershaw is better than Hernandez (better ERA, ERA+, WHIP, bWAR, FIP, similar wins and strikeouts; King Felix is better in xFIP and fWAR), but at the very least they are similar, and presumably Kershaw would be younger during his contract than Hernandez, assuming Kershaw signs for 2014-2020. But it would be hard for Kershaw to hit that average because...
  • Kershaw is eligible for salary arbitration in 2014, and even if he sets the world on fire this season, as his Dodger Stadium pre-start music suggests, his salary next year will be artificially lower than if he were on the open market. Think $20 million instead of $25 million, or something like that. Even if Kershaw gets $20 million for 2014 (Tim Lincecum is getting a record $22 million in 2013, his final arb season, for example), he would need to get $30 million per year for the final six years to hit the $200 million mark.

We know this. Whatever Kershaw's next contract is, he will be getting paid. A lot. Probably even more than Hernandez. But color me skeptical that Kershaw will get $200 million.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker