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Dodgers reportedly offered Clayton Kershaw $300 million contract

Clayton KershawClayton 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.

Dodgers unnecessarily pitching Clayton Kershaw on short rest

Clayton KershawThe Los Angeles Dodgers were flirting with the idea of pitching ace Clayton Kershaw on short rest for Game 4 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves on Monday, and they announced that they would be going forward with the plan. While the move may allow them to clinch the series on Monday, I think it’s an unnecessary risk.

Kershaw pitched brilliantly in the Dodgers’ Game 1 win in Atlanta last Thursday. He’s the best pitcher in baseball on regular rest. The team is already up 2-1 and planned to have Ricky Nolasco pitch Game 4. The Braves are going with Freddy Garcia, who is a weak link on their pitching staff in my opinion. The Dodgers have a very good chance of winning Game 4 in a Nolasco-Garcia matchup, so why push Kershaw to pitch a day early?

Pitching Kershaw on short rest creates some uncertainty. Teams only pitch their aces on short rest, thinking that will give them an advantage. But we’ve seen many times in the past where aces on short rest just looked like average guys.

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Clayton Kershaw upset that Pluto is no longer recognized as a planet (Video)

Clayton-Kershaw-Jimmy-KimmelLos Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Monday night and discussed the success his team has had this season among other things. One of the more interesting topics arose when Kershaw spoke about his family history. As some of you may know, the left-hander’s great-uncle discovered the planet Pluto.

While it sounds like some sort of elaborate joke, it actually checks out. I doubt Princeton’s website would lie about it, and even they say that the late Clyde Tombaugh was Kershaw’s great-uncle. Several years ago, scientists determined that Pluto was no longer one of the nine planets and is instead a dwarf planet — one of more than 100,000 of its kind. That was a sad day for the Kershaw family.

“My great uncle discovered Pluto,” Kershaw explained. “I know that sounds like a joke when it comes out, but it’s true. And they took it away from us. They say it’s a dwarf planet now.

“What scientists just get in a room one day and say, ‘Ah, you know what, we’re out with Pluto?’ I mean how do you do that?”

Some Dodgers fans are well aware that Kershaw’s great uncle is a famous astronomer, and the 25-year-old says they have sent him T-shirts to show their support for his family’s discovery.

“You know what’s funny,” Kershaw continued. “Some fans have actually sent me shirts that say ‘Pluto is still a planet in our hearts,’ so I appreciate that.”

And Kershaw thought not being named the All-Star starter and contract talks going public were frustrating? His great-uncle must be rolling over in his grave.

Clayton Kershaw ‘hurt’ by Bruce Bochy’s comments about All-Star Game starter

clayton-kershawSan Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who is managing the National League squad at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, announced on Monday that Matt Harvey will be starting on the mound for the NL. When speaking to reporters about the decision, Bochy insisted it had nothing to do with the fact that the game is being held in New York.

“It wouldn’t have mattered what city we were playing in with the year he’s had,” Bochy said, via the LA Times.

Harvey has pitched tremendously throughout the first half, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.35 ERA and striking out 147 batters. Bochy likely made his comments to make sure Harvey gets enough credit and is not just seen as a pitcher who got the start by default in his home ballpark.

Bochy also pointed out that Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright were candidates to earn the starting job, but his remark about Harvey starting no matter where the game was seemed to upset Kershaw.

“It hurts,” Kershaw said according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Yeah, it hurts.”

Kershaw also noted that he found out about the decision while watching TV. The 25-year-old is 8-6 and has posted an incredible 1.98 ERA this season. I doubt anyone would have been surprised if he was named the starter but, again, I think Bochy was just trying to prove he did not give Harvey the honor strictly because the game is at Citi Field.

We’re talking about the All-Star Game here, not Game 1 of the World Series. Bochy certainly wasn’t trying to offend anyone. Fans are probably glad Kershaw cares about the event, but he could afford to lighten up a bit.

Clayton Kershaw upset with Dodgers over contract talks leak

clayton-kershawThe Los Angeles Dodgers are currently working toward making 25-year-old ace Clayton Kershaw a very rich man, but the left-hander would prefer if we didn’t know anything about it. On Sunday, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that the Dodgers have made progress on a seven-year extension for Kershaw worth roughly $180 million, which would make him the highest-paid pitcher in the league.

Rosenthal also noted that LA and Kershaw have discussed monster deals worth 10 years, $250 million and 12 years, $300 million. Kershaw has no idea how the public got this information.

“I think the reason we’ve been able to continue discussions this long is that it hasn’t been talked about (publicly),” he said Sunday, via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Now that it’s being talked about, it’s a distraction because I’m being asked about it.”

When asked if he was upset that the talks had gone public, Kershaw simply said “yeah.” He then elaborated and stopped just barely short of blaming the Dodgers.

“I don’t love the fact that I have to talk about it,” he said. “You’ll have to ask them why they talked about it now. We had an agreement we weren’t going to talk about. It didn’t come from our side. That’s all I can say.”

In this the booming era of social media, the leak could have come from anywhere. Considering they are looking to lock Kershaw up before he hits free agency, I don’t see how the Dodgers would benefit from releasing information about their private discussions with him. While I understand that Kershaw would prefer to not have to deal with the distraction of discussing it with the media, players rarely — if ever — have that luxury.

Clayton Kershaw hits home run and pitches shutout in Opening Day win (Video)

Clayton Kershaw home runClayton Kershaw had an Opening Day to remember. The two-time All-Star and 2011 Cy Young Award winner homered and pitched a complete game shutout in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 4-0 win over the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants on Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw broke a scoreless game in the eighth with a solo home run to center field off reliever George Kontos. The homer was thrilling because there was no sign of offense, and then out of nowhere, Kershaw, leading off the inning, hammered the first pitch out to center for his first career home run. After Kershaw led off the inning with the dinger, the Dodgers scored three more runs to go up 4-0.

On the pitching side, Kershaw allowed just four hits, no walks, and struck out seven over the nine scoreless innings for the win. He became the first pitcher since Cleveland’s Bob Lemon in 1953 to hit a home run and pitch a shutout on Opening Day.

It was like a Little League game for Kershaw — hitting a home run and throwing a shutout. Only he did it against the defending World Series champs.

Tim Lincecum Supports Clayton Kershaw for NL Cy Young

The Dodgers beat the Giants 2-1 in the opener of a three-game series Friday night. Clayton Kershaw went eight innings of three-hit ball, walking one and striking out nine for the win. Tim Lincecum matched him by allowing just one run over eight innings, but the Dodgers scored in the 9th with Kershaw as the pitcher of record. Lincecum took a no-decision.

Timmy is putting in another fantastic season for the Giants. He’s gone 12-12 with a 2.68 ERA and 206 strikeouts. Kershaw is 18-5 with 2.36 ERA and an NL-best 231 strikeouts. The Giants pitcher, who has won two Cy Young Awards, said after Friday’s game he knows who should win the award this year.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Lincecum said Kershaw would be his choice. “The young lefty just keeps getting better and better. He has incredible stuff, and every season, he’s learning more about how to compete with it,” Andrew Baggarly wrote.

“He doesn’t give in,” Lincecum said. “You can see his confidence when he’s pitching. He knows he’s good. The most important thing as a pitcher is to know you’ll get the job done. You can see it with him. He’s done it all year.”

I wrote last month that the Dodgers could have a Cy Young winner and MVP on a last-place team. The team has shaped up and is now close to .500. Meanwhile, Kershaw has gotten even better lately. Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay will provide competition for the award, but the way Kershaw’s pitching, he is the front-runner for the award. If even the rival Lincecum is saying it, it must be true.