Oh happy day! The Dodgers will soon officially announce their agreement with Clayton Kershaw to a reported 7-year $215 million contract by Friday. The southpaw is now the highest paid pitcher ever, and he deserves every penny. The humble two-time Cy Young award winner will no doubt use some of his earnings to further his philanthropic endeavors in Africa where him and his wife Ellen have built and maintain an orphanage. The Dodgers not only lock up the best pitcher in the game, but the new contract reflects Kershaw’s influence not only on the mound but off the field as well.
Big winner today……me. I am blessed to catch best in the game for foreseeable future God willing. Congrats Kersh!
— AJ Ellis (@AJEllis17) January 15, 2014
Fans can breathe a sigh of relief with this wonderful news. I wasn’t worried at all that the Dodgers wouldn’t extend Kershaw this offseason, and in fact I thought that they were probably very close to an agreement when I was writing my post last night about Kershaw’s arbitration filing. Other than Vin Scully, Kershaw is the true face of the Dodgers. His dominance over the past few seasons along with his two Cy Young awards have really solidified him as the greatest Dodger pitcher of my generation. Now Dodger fans will rest easy knowing that they will have many more years of Clayton Kershaw leading the Dodgers starting rotation.
Watching Kershaw pitch in the World Series is a dream of mine, and although the Dodgers came frustratingly close last season to winning their first World Series berth since 1988, I’m excited to see what the future brings for the Dodgers and Kershaw. A Dodger dynasty couldn’t be a possibility without Kershaw, and I see many successful seasons ahead for the Dodgers now that Kershaw is signed for seven years.
There is reportedly an opt-out after five years, and while that could come into play down the road, right now I just want to relish in the fact that Kershaw is a Dodger for years to come. The hefty contract is the most for a player at any position and surpasses C.C. Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees. Kershaw will make a jaw dropping $30.714 million per season. That’s some costly curveballs!
What’s next for the Dodgers? With Kershaw now signed, perhaps they will turn their attention to Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka who coincidently is represented by the same agent as Kersh, Casey Close. While the Dodgers’ interest in Tanaka have been reported to be somewhere between “lukewarm” and “all-in,” we cannot rule out a big doozy of a double signing if the Dodgers also land Tanaka.
I guesstimated Kersh’s contract would be about $200-$250 million for eight years, and I wasn’t too far off. Kershaw reportedly turned down a lifetime contract worth $300 million. Even though $215 million is hard to wrap your head around, it leaves the door to the possibility of a Tanaka deal ajar. The Dodgers, the free spenders that they are now, most likely wouldn’t rule out signing Tanaka even though they just drove the Brinks truck into Kershaw’s driveway. What’s another $100 million or so, right?
Stay tuned as the Tanaka sweepstakes heats up! Tanaka has until Friday, January 24th to reach a deal with a MLB team.