The Seattle Mariners came to an agreement with pitcher Felix Hernandez for a contract extension for five years and $135 million. Hernandez is already signed through 2014 and will make $39.5 million over the next two years before the new extension is set to begin in 2015. King Felix, like Clayton Kershaw, is a strikeout pitcher. He has accumulated at least 200 strikeouts in each of his last four seasons in Seattle. In 2012, Hernandez went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA and 223 strikeouts. He also pitched the very first perfect game in Seattle Mariners history on August 15th versus the Tampa Bay Rays. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2010, and even though he pitches behind an atrocious offense, he has put up a record of 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA over the course of his eight seasons with the Mariners.
While Seattle has pleased their fans by locking up King Felix long-term, the Dodgers will need to get down to their next order of business. Clayton Kershaw’s long-term contract needs to be a priority for the ownership. With a multi-billion dollar television deal in the works, the Dodgers will have no financial road blocks in their way. Like Scott has suggested, they could just hand over a blank check to Kershaw. Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, and David Price now become the elite pitching bunch who will all potentially become free agents over the next two years. Many theorize that one of these stars may even break the $200 million contract threshold. If any player deserves that sort of exorbitant sum, it’s the left-handed wonder Clayton Kershaw.
8 years and $200 million. That has a nice ring to it. An even $25 million per year for Kersh sounds perfect.
The 24-year old Cy Young Award winner and philanthropist has a 61-37 career record with the Dodgers in his five seasons. He has a career ERA of 2.79, has struck out 974 batters in 944 innings, has a 2.86 SO/BB, a 9.3 SO/9, and a 1.137 WHIP. In 2012 Kershaw went 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA, and 229 Ks in 33 starts. He finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting behind winner R.A. Dickey, but he clearly put up worthy numbers. All this while battling a bout of the flu on Opening Day, a nagging case of plantar fasciitis, and a hip impingement.
Clayton Kershaw is not only impressive on the mound, but he also is raising money to aid orphans in Zambia through his charity Kershaw’s Challenge. While $200 million seems like a incredibly high number, I feel great giving it to Kershaw, because I’m confident that he will be using some of that money to do good in the world. Kershaw is two years younger than Felix Hernandez, and I dare say better. According to the Los Angeles Times, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have a mutual interest in a contract extension.
Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are the franchise players for the Dodgers, and there’s nothing that I want more than to see Clayton Kershaw pitch in the World Series. Kershaw is the Sandy Koufax of our generation. With the way that Major League contracts have been going of late which reflect the vitality of the sport, Clayton Kershaw’s paycheck should reflect his killer curve.