Turns out the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw were close to a contract extension, as reported Wednesday morning. Really close.
Now, according to Ramona Shelburne on ESPN Los Angeles, it's a done deal. It's just not he 10-year or $300-million deal that some were expecting, but it does make him baseball's first $30 million man.
The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have agreed on a seven year, $215 million contract, sources have told ESPN. Out after five
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 15, 2014
No, Kershaw didn't dethrone Alex Rodriguez's for baseball's most expensive contract ($275 million). Nor did his become the first contract to break the $300-million plateau, but it is the richest contract signed by a pitcher in major-league history, toppling Justin Verlander's $180 million deal. It's also the sixth most expensive contract in baseball history.
The contract divides out to $30.7 million per year, which does give Kershaw the highest average annual value in MLB and cements his status as the best pitcher on the planet at this very moment. Since the contract has an opt-out after five years, that means Kershaw could score one more huge payday. Keep in mind, he's only 25. He'd be 32 when this deal expires, or 30 when he hits his opt-out date.
On the Dodgers' end, they're not on the hook for a 10-year deal, which many expected. While Kershaw might be the rare player worth such a commitment, it's still a huge gamble. Speaking of gambles: With the Kershaw deal done, the Dodgers still look to be players in the sweepstakes for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. He's expected to fetch a contract of upward of $100 million, in addition to that $20 million posting fee.
So maybe the Dodgers will commit $300 million to pitching this offseason. Just not all of it to Clayton Kershaw.
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