After Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw agreed to his record-setting seven-year, $215 million contract on Wednesday, the reactions were numerous:
- Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports called Kershaw "the best pitcher in the game, and not by a little," and compared the left-hander to recent market-setting pitchers Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez. "Truth be told, Kershaw should be far above Verlander and Hernandez, crazy as that might sound," Rosenthal wrote.
- Tyler Kepner notes in the New York Times that Kershaw is just the sixth player to sign a $200 million contract, and the second to do so (along with Joey Votto) without free agency.
- Jorge L. Ortiz in USA Today wrote "there's only one Clayton Kershaw."
- Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times said the Kershaw contract was the right thing to do and "shows fans a commitment to winning."
- Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated called the contract a win for the Dodgers.
- Richard Justice at MLB.com said the Dodgers "sent a message" with the Kershaw deal.
- Jill Painter-Lopez at the LA Daily News says everyone wins with the contract.
- David Cameron at FanGraphs wrote (before news of the contract broke) that while the $215 million price tag might be absurd, Kershaw is actually worth it.
- Dan Zymborski of ESPN ($) went ever further than Cameron, estimating (like Cameron, before the contract news broke) that Kershaw was actually worth more than $300 million.
- Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus ($) said Kershaw "predictably makes the most money."
- Mike Axisa at CBS Sports wrote that Kershaw may have left money on the table, and that "this might be just his first $200+ million deal."
- Axisa also looked at the historically great company Kershaw keeps with his career performance through age 25, and examined how Kershaw's historical peers did from ages 26-30.
- Marc Normandin at Sports on Earth sees a dwindling number of aces actually reaching free agency. "What we're dealing with is the new generation of pitcher compensation," Normandin wrote. "Lucrative long-term deals are still risky, especially for teams that would prefer not to bump up against the luxury tax threshold, but for teams willing to take that risk, the financial cushion of the modern game makes retaining pitching attractive."
- Mark Saxon at ESPN LA said that Kershaw's contract ended a period of increasing worry for Dodgers fans.
- Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness liked the deal, and liked it even more once he found out the payout details.
- Chad Moriyama said Kershaw's record deal somehow feels like a bargain.
- Lindbergh and Sam Miller talked about the Kershaw deal on the latest edition of the Effectively Wild podcast at Baseball Prospectus.
- Mark Whicker at the Orange County Register wrote that the Kershaw deal is emblematic of the overall health of baseball.
- Steven Goldman at SB Nation wrote about the largess of the contract and the risk of long deals for pitchers, but added that "Kershaw is exactly the kind of pitcher who is the best bet for a superexpensivelong contract (this is the technical term)."
- Alan Matthews wrote a story nearly eight years ago for Baseball America about Kershaw, then a high school pitcher in Texas a few months before the 2006 MLB Draft. It's a great read, but worth it especially for the quote from Kershaw's mother, talking about a younger Clayton: "Mom, we’re rich, but we’re not Highland Park rich, are we?"
- Grant Brisbee at McCovey Chronicles thinks that with Kershaw now signed a subsequent Masahiro Tanaka signing by the Dodgers is inevitable.
- Patrick Rishe at Forbes wrote about the Dodgers' risk in a seven-year deal, but also used this tortured phrase: "I doubt Kershaw has ever touched a PED, but his earnings trajectory is definitely on steroids."
Finally, a couple of Kershaw's teammates weighed in.
Congrats 2 the best pitcher in baseball and great teammate @ClaytonKersh22 on his deal!— Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) January 15, 2014
Big winner today......me. I am blessed to catch best in the game for foreseeable future God willing. Congrats Kersh!— AJ Ellis (@AJEllis17) January 15, 2014