On a day where the Dodgers' putrid bullpen couldn't hold a lead for Clayton Kershaw, but ended up winning in 11 anyway, the front office made even bigger news. And for Mr. Kershaw, it's the extension he's been waiting for.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that Kershaw is on the verge of becoming the richest pitcher in Major League history. Yes, richer than Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, C.C. Sabathia, and teammate Zack Greinke. The major reason? Kershaw is obviously really, really good, but he's also younger than all of those guys at 25.
The highest contract belongs to Verlander at $180 million. Kershaw's could completely blow that out of the water with a couple deals he's discussing. One is for 10 years and $250 million. The other is for 12 years and $300. Good Lord, that's a lot of money!
As he currently stands, Kershaw is 5-4 with a 1.84 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 104 K's in 107 1/3 IP. Opponents are hitting .191, well below his career average of .212. Ten times this season, he's pitched at least seven innings with three or less runs, and if his bullpen and offense weren't so bad, he'd he have double the wins right now.
So, it's no secret why the Dodgers feel the need to take him off the market right now. He's a fierce competitor, and with uncertainty surrounding Matt Kemp and his injuries, he's turned into the face of the franchise. And I'm pretty sure the Dodgers have the cash.
As awesome as Kershaw is, and will most likely continue to be, there's obvious risk involved whenever massive contracts are dished out. The Dodgers have a $200+ payroll and are dead last in the NL West. They have many big contracts on this team, including Kemp, Greinke, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez, and nearly all of them have been hurt at some point, causing their numbers to tank. Simply put, big money has not translated to big wins, at all.
Still, this is great news for Dodger fans who may have been worried that Kershaw could leave, especially when the team around him isn't nearly on his level. The front office pretty much has no choice but to make this happen, regardless of the other contracts on this team. Stay tuned.