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Clayton Kershaw Avoids Arbitration With 2-Year, $19 Million Deal

Joe Beimel remains the last Dodger to have a salary arbitration hearing. Clayton Kershaw avoided his next two hearings today, signing a two-year deal worth $19 million.

Kershaw will receive a $500,000 signing bonus, $7.5 million in 2012, and $11 million in 2013, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times. Kershaw submitted a salary of $10 million in arbitration while the Dodgers countered at $6.5 million. The $8 million Kershaw receives this year is slightly less than the midpoint, but also the second highest salary ever for a pitcher in his first year of arbitration eligibility, trailing only Tim Lincecum.

UPDATE: Tony Jackson of ESPN LA reports that $2 million of Kershaw's 2012 salary is deferred to January 2013.

Kershaw follows a similar path to that of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, both of whom signed a two-year deal during arbitration that left them with one year left before free agency once the contract expires.

In a quick and dirty estimate of what it would take to get Kershaw to sign a long-term contract, I was thinking something like $7m/$12m/$17m for the three arb-eligible seasons. Since this contract matches the total for those first two years, this seems like a win for the Dodgers at first glance, with the caveat that signing Kershaw to a long-term deal is still of the highest priority at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers have 18 players under contract for 2012 for a total of $85,975,000.