2013 has been a year of record contracts across sports. Players like Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and Joe Flacco earning large contract extensions, each the highest in their respective sports. When one player signs for a large contract, another is soon to follow with an even bigger deal. Next in line is Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw who is currently in negotiations with the team to sign a record-breaking deal.
Kershaw had expressed interest in a new contract during spring training, but many believed he would put negotiations on hold as the season began and the deal remained unfinished. However, as Verlander signed a new contract prior to Opening Day, Kershaw has decided to keep discussions with the team ongoing.
The two sides have been in constant communication since the season began. The contract for the young left-hander is reported to be over $200 million. In perspective, Verlander is owed $180 million over the next seven years, while Hernandez is due $175 million over the next seven years. Considering the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers have endless pockets of money, a deal worth that amount does not seem outrageous. Kershaw is clearly the face of the franchise and deserves to get paid like it.
Kershaw continues to prove he is worth the large amount of money he is asking for. The ace is off to a strong start, pitching a complete game in the Dodgers win on Opening Day. He has struck out 16 batters, allowing only six hits and 16 scoreless innings in his first two starts. He won the NL Cy Young Award in 2011, while coming in second in 2012. He is also a former Gold Glove Award winner along with a two-time All-Star.
The better Kershaw continues to pitch, the greater his value becomes. There is no indication of how close the two sides are to reaching a deal. The longer negotiations continue, the great the asking price will become. Dodgers sources note that the contract talks are in no way a distraction to Kershaw or the team as a whole. The team has no true timeline they are trying to abide by, the goal is to continue talking until a final deal is put together.
Kershaw is currently owed $11 million at the end of this year before he enters the final year of arbitration with his current contract.