Rosenthal reports Kershaw WAS close to record contract, ISN’T close now

Still trying to make sense of this report by’s Ken Rosenthal that Clayton Kershaw was “close to signing” a seven-year, $210 million contract extension that would have given him the highest salary, based on average annual value, of any player in major league history. I don’t for a minute doubt the accuracy. Kenny, after all, may be the best baseball reporter on the planet. I just don’t get why it would’ve played out the way it says here that it did.

I checked with Ned Colletti after the game, and as I fully expected him to do, he responded via text message, “I don’t have any comment.” Interpret that as you wish.

This report says the sides haven’t negotiated in months and that it was the Dodgers who backed off the negotiations. The only reason I can see that happening would be if Kershaw’s side was asking for even more, which they wouldn’t do unless they thought he stood to get even more on the open market. Hard for me to believe the Dodgers would offer a deal like that and then withdraw the offer. That just doesn’t happen, unless a team discovers that a player has some sort of physical issues, and Kershaw clearly doesn’t — he’s 13-7 with a 1.72 ERA and has a good shot at winning his second career Cy Young Award.

If Kershaw is seeking more than $210 million, then obviously, he thinks he can get it on the open market. But even though he is in the final season of a two-year, $19 million contract, he isn’t even eligible to test the open market until after NEXT season because he will finish 2013 with less than six years of major league service time. Even so, if he doesn’t sign a long-term deal this winter, Kershaw, who will receive $11 million this year, stands to get a staggering amount for 2014, perhaps even a record amount, through the arbitration process.

At any rate, this is another report like that one that came out a few days ago stating that the Dodgers came close to acquiring Howie Kendrick from the Angels at the trading deadline: it’s an interesting but otherwise-moot story about something that almost happened a long time ago but ultimately didn’t.

And with the Dodgers presently trying to nail down a division title and prepare for what could be a long playoff run, I would be utterly shocked if they resumed any kind of contractual negotiations with Kershaw or anyone else before the offseason.


  1. Rosenthal made a similar “close” article in June in which Kershaw was “angry” that details were released. And, if I recall, more money was mentioned. Couldn’t it simply be the case of the Dodgers backing off because Kershaw is still mad and told them to wait until the season is over?

  2. The report mentions a 5 year opt out clause. Greinke already got an opt-out from the Dodgers after 3 years. Do you think the Dodgers pulled out bc they didn’t want to offer an opt-out to Kershaw? I’m not sure how much of the negotiations is driven by Kersahaw vs. his agent. Obviously I don’t know Kershaw, but he strikes me as someone who is extremely focused on being the best and would not be more happy or less happy if he made $25M/year or $30+M/year. Maybe I’m just a naive fan…

  3. Ivan you COULD be onto something with the opt-out clause. I know they were burned by that at least once in the past (J.D. Drew). But they gave one to Greinke, so apparently they’re obviously not that gun-shy about it.

  4. Any rumors on the Cuban SS Guerrero?