Oct 18, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning in game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw's Contract Extension: The Los Angeles Dodgers need to get it done now!

News has been flying around at lightning speed over the past couple of days regarding the state of Clayton Kershaw’s contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

At first there was concern from fans that Kershaw hadn’t received an extension yet and that he was, for the final time, filing for arbitration. With Kershaw’s contract up at the end of the 2014 season and his reluctance to talk about a deal during the regular season it has become the Dodgers number one priority this offseason.

Over the last couple of hours it has been reported that Kershaw’s representatives and the Dodgers are discussing a deal that would make the lefty the highest paid pitcher in baseball. The Dodgers have stated that they would like a deal to be done by Friday, at the latest. The reason for this is that the Dodgers would like to get Kershaw on the books so that they know exactly where they stand financially in order to make a run at Masahiro Tanaka.

My question to the Dodgers is why has this contract taken so long? Get it done! We all know that Clayton Kershaw is, without question, the best pitcher in baseball. He is 25 years old, has led the major leagues in ERA the past three seasons and has won the NL Cy Young in two of the last three campaigns. He is the cornerstone of the Dodgers franchise. Get the deal done!

There is little doubt that Kershaw will become the highest paid pitcher in the history of baseball. The key number to watch is $28 million because that is the highest annual salary ever given to a pitcher, which was given to Justin Verlander in his extension with the Detroit Tigers. The Seattle Mariners gave Felix Hernandez $27.1 million annually over the course of 5 years. Kershaw is going to surpass both of those numbers and the Dodgers are fully prepared to make it rain, once again.

Here is my prediction: The Dodgers will sign Clayton Kershaw for 8-year, $250 million by the end of this weekend. That will mean that Kershaw is getting $31.25 million annually. I also believe that there will be an opt-out clause after 5-years and that Kershaw will receive a full no-trade clause. The Dodgers have limited leverage in these negotiations and Kershaw and his agents can pretty much negotiate any type of deal they want to.

From the Dodgers perspective, they could care less. As long as Kershaw is locked up long term and he is happy then the Dodgers are happy. Of course, there is risk in signing a younger pitcher with so many innings already logged; however, the risk is completely worth it in this case. Clayton Kershaw is the face of the Los Angeles Dodgers. No amount of money can replace Kershaw’s value to the franchise on and off the field.

Get the deal done and get it done now.

Update

According to ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne, the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have reached an agreement on a 7-year $215 million deal that will make Kershaw the highest paid pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball at $30.7 million annually.

 

Tags: Clayton Kershaw Felix Hernandez Justin Verlander Masahiro Tanaka

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