Dodgers reportedly offered Clayton Kershaw $300 million contract
Clayton Kershaw is the best young pitcher in baseball, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to keep him in blue for the rest of his career. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers offered Kershaw essentially a lifetime contract in the range of $300 million this season that the pitcher turned down.
Kershaw is entering his final season of team control and will be eligible for arbitration next season. The Dodgers want to lock him up long term and approached him with the contract offer during the season. Olney says the deal was not signed because Kershaw may have been hesitant to essentially make a lifetime commitment to the team, and because he did not want to negotiate during the season. But the word is that the two sides should be able to reach an agreement on a long-term deal this offseason for perhaps fewer years.
Whatever Kershaw signs for will almost certainly set a record for the largest contract ever for a pitcher. The Dodgers signed Zack Greinke to a 6-year, $147 million free agent deal in the offseason. He’s an excellent pitcher, but he’s not at Kershaw’s level. Kershaw won the Cy Young Award two years ago, should have won it last year, and will win it this season. Along with Justin Verlander and probably Felix Hernandez, he’s the best pitcher in baseball. Verlander signed an extension that schedules for him to make $180 million over a seven-year span. Hernandez signed an extension that calls for him to earn $175 million over seven years. Kershaw will almost certainly sign for over $200 million.
I really hate giving such a long-term contract to a pitcher and think it’s probably a good thing for the Dodgers Kershaw didn’t accept a $300 million lifetime deal. They’re different pitchers, but look at what happened with Tim Lincecum. The guy was set to sign a huge deal and passed on it, and now he’d be lucky to sign a two-year deal as a free agent. CC Sabathia was one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, and now his contract with the Yankees looks like a bad one.
Pitchers’ arms burn out. It’s inevitable. Long-term deals for them are not advised. The Dodgers should be happy Kershaw didn’t sign such a big contract. And if the Dodgers planned to make such a huge investment in the lefty, then you think they’d be protecting him more and not having him throw high-stress innings in the playoffs on short rest and have him stay out against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 when he already has a high pitch count. They are really burning out his arm.