Clayton Kershaw is working on a masterpiece of a season in 2013 that could earn him a second Cy Young Award and possibly Most Valuable Player honors as well. The Dodgers ace, who will qualify for free agency after the 2014 season, discussed a seven-year extension worth roughly $210 million earlier in the season, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
"A few months ago they were close on a seven-year deal in the $210 million range ... and the deal also included an opt-out clause after five years," Rosenthal said on the MLB on Fox pregame show on Saturday. "The Dodgers though backed off and it has been months since the two sides last spoke. The talks now seem likely to extend into the offseason, and the way Kershaw is pitching his price might go even higher."
Kershaw has one year left of salary arbitration remaining, but the number to shoot for is the $28 million per year for the five extra years added to Justin Verlander's contract signed with the Tigers before this season. Felix Hernandez of the Mariners signed a similar deal this offseason, adding five years to a contract already in place, averaging $27.1 million over those extra five years.
A $210 million contract would shatter the all-time record for a pitcher. CC Sabathia has the real record with his seven-year, $161 million deal signed with the Yankees before 2009. The seven-year contracts signed before this season by Verlander ($180 million) and Hernandez ($175 million) were reported as higher than Sabathia, but in reality were simply five-year extensions added to the two seasons already under contract for both.
Kershaw, 13-7 with a major league-leading 1.72 ERA at 25 years old, is both better and younger than Verlander and Hernandez and in line for a better deal, which the reported $30 million-per-year contract would provide.
During spring training Kershaw said he didn't want to discuss a contract extension during the season, but in June Rosenthal reported the Dodgers were closing in on a deal with the left-hander. Kershaw was angry that word of the contract talks became public and accused the Dodgers of leaking the info to the press, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times on June 16.
Even though both sides haven't negotiated in two months, Rosenthal believes a deal between the Dodgers and Kershaw will eventually get signed.
"He knows and the Dodgers know he needs to be here in LA," Rosenthal said on Fox. "This deal will get done."
That was when the Dodgers were in Pittsburgh, the last time the Dodgers lost a series. The Dodgers are 14-0-4 in their 18 series since dropping two of three to the Pirates, and 47-13 overall. Kershaw since that weekend is 8-3 with a 1.58 ERA in 12 starts, with 84 strikeouts and 12 walks in 91 innings.