Clayton Kershaw said repeatedly during spring training that he didn't want to talk contract during the regular season. With that artificial Monday deadline looming, Kershaw may not have to as he is reportedly closing in on a potential record contract extension.
Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness was the first to report the deal on Friday.
"I can reliably report that Clayton Kershaw is going to sign an eight-year, $200m (or possibly slightly more) extension with the Dodgers, possibly as soon as tonight," Petriello wrote. "It’s not official yet, but I expect it to be in the next 24-48 hours, if not sooner."
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports later reported that Kershaw and the Dodgers were "quietly talking," and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported that while nothing was imminent, the range of eight years, $200 million was where the market was headed.
Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times cited multiple people within the organization that the Dodgers are in fact talking contract with their ace left-hander.
Justin Verlander on Friday signed an extension with the Tigers that added $140 million over five years to the two years and $40 million he had left on his contract. That was similar to the extension signed by Felix Hernandez with the Mariners in February that added $135.5 million and five years to his existing two years.
Kershaw is under contract at $11 million for 2013, and will be arbitration eligible in 2014. He wouldn't be eligible for free agency until after the 2014 campaign. At five years younger than Verlander, Kershaw is poised to top the contract numbers of Verlander and Hernandez with any sort of extension he signs.
Petriello estimated that the eight-year deal could include 2013, which would pay Kershaw through his age-32 season in 2020. Matt Kemp, who himself signed an eight-year extension before 2012, is signed through 2019.
Whether Kershaw signs this weekend or in one of the next two years, he is bound to get paid quite a bit of money. But given the relatively high amount of smoke to this fire, the next couple days could be quite interesting for the Dodgers.