The Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw's representatives did a good job of keeping a lid on their discussions of a record-breaking contract extension for the ace left-hander.
That lid popped off briefly this weekend with a FOX Sports report that the two sides are making progress on a seven-year deal that would be worth more than $180 million, exceeding the extensions signed by Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez and Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander earlier this year. That would make Kershaw (at age 25) the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history.
Kershaw was upset details of the discussions became public.
"I think the reason we've been able to continue discussions this long is that it hasn't been talked about (publicly)," he said. "Now that it's being talked about, it's a distraction because I'm being asked about it."
Kershaw said during spring training he did not want discussions to continue during the season because of the potential for distraction. He answered, "I don't know," when asked if the weekend report could affect the progress of negotiations.
He was more definitive when asked if he were upset news of the negotiations leaked out.
"Yeah," Kershaw said. "I don't love the fact that I have to talk about it."
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti would not comment on the report, but Kershaw made it clear he blames team management for the leak.
"We had an agreement we weren't going to talk about it," he said. "It didn't come from our side. That's all I can say."
Through 15 starts, Kershaw is only 5-4 with no wins in his past five starts despite an NL-low 1.84 ERA, a league-leading 104 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP. The Dodgers have supported him with an average of fewer than three runs per start. In his five victories, Kershaw has allowed just one run in 41 2/3 innings. The team has blown three saves in his past five starts.
"You control what you can control," Kershaw said. "It's not easy to do sometimes. But you control what you can control, and that's what I'm trying to do."