Dodgers owner Magic Johnson said before NLDS Game 1 that he was confident the team would sign ace Clayton Kershaw to a long-term extension over the winter. Kershaw will be a free agent after the 2014 season, but it would behoove management to lock him up during this off-season so he doesn’t hit the open market.
Kershaw and his representatives stated before the season that they didn’t want to negotiate during the season, but twice already there have been rumors the two sides were close to an extension during the season. The latest one was the Dodgers were closing in on a $300 million lifetime contract with their ace and on with ESPN Radio 710, Johnson discussed whether he turned down that offer:
Well, I wouldn’t say that. We were negotiating with him and everyone put it on hold because it was during the season. But, we plan on signing him back. We feel like he’s the best pitcher in baseball and we got three guys we can count on behind each other. Kershaw is our leader and we feel good about our chances when he goes out on the mound.
Magic wouldn’t go as far as to say that Kershaw turned down $300 million, but it’s clear that signing him is a priority of the Guggenheim Group. In 2013, Kershaw led the national league in ERA for the third straight season and the league with 232 strikeouts as he’s the leading candidate to win his second NL Cy Young award.
Along with an extension for Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez could also see his contract extended as he’s set to become a free agent, like Kershaw, at the end of the 2014 season.
Johnson reiterated ownership’s commitment to sign free agents and trade for players as the Dodgers will be very active during the off-season, with 12 free agents of their own.
Signing Kershaw to a long-term deal remains a priority for the Dodgers and as was the case back in early October, Johnson remains confident that will happen.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!