LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers (parent-club of the Chattanooga Lookouts) and two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw have agreed to a record-breaking seven-year, $215 million deal with an opt-out after five years, according to a baseball source.
On Dodgers.com, club president Stan Kasten said Wednesday he's "hopeful that by Friday morning we will have an announcement." Salary-arbitration figures are to be exchanged on Friday.
At $215 million for seven years, the average annual value of $30.714 million will surpass a record set by Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia for a player at any position. The $215 million deal surpasses the $180 million contract Justin Verlander signed with the Tigers in March, making Kershaw the highest-paid pitcher in history.
In 2013, the 25-year-old Kershaw won his second Cy Young Award in three years and his third consecutive MLB ERA title at 1.83, becoming the first Dodgers pitcher to three-peat and the first in the game since Greg Maddux's run from 1993-95.
Kershaw made the All-Star Game for a third consecutive year, led the Major Leagues with a 0.92 WHIP, led the NL with 232 strikeouts, was second with 236 innings, was second with a .195 opponents' batting average and tied for third with 16 wins.
He was the only pitcher in the league to finish in the top three in wins, ERA, strikeouts and innings.
And it's not just raw talent. His intangibles are off the charts, from work ethic and aptitude to character and leadership.
Kershaw became the franchise's first multiple Cy Young winner since Sandy Koufax (1963, '65, '66), which is fitting because the 1.83 ERA is the best by an NL lefty since Koufax's 1.73 in '66. It's also the lowest ERA in MLB since Pedro Martinez's 1.74 in 2000 and lowest in the league since Maddux's 1.63 in 1995.
From the Roberto Clemente Award for community service to the billboards alongside freeways that underscore his role as the youthful face of the franchise, Kershaw has evolved into an icon.
The seventh overall pick in the 2006 Draft out of Highland Park High School near Dallas, Kershaw has a big league record of 77-46 with an ERA of 2.60. He's a three-time All-Star with a Gold Glove Award in 2011 and was seventh last year in NL MVP voting. In five full seasons, he has never started fewer than 31 games, with a career-high 35 in '13. Between his Cy Young Awards in '11 and '13, he finished second in '12.
Negotiations for this deal began last spring. Kershaw last summer reportedly rejected what amounted to a lifetime contract, rumored worth as much as $300 million. At the time, Kershaw wouldn't discuss specifics, other than his annoyance that word of the in-season negotiations had leaked. He earlier had told reporters that there would be no in-season negotiations.
---- Source: MLB.com