For most of the off-season the Los Angeles Dodgers have been been on the sidelines waiting to make their signature move. Sure re-signing Brian Wilson and bringing in Dan Haren are nice moves, but many expected the Dodgers to sign Masahiro Tanaka or trade for David Price.
While signing Tanaka is still a strong possibility, a lot of focus has been on the supposed non-existent contract talks between the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. The 25-year-old left-hander filed for arbitration today, but to avoid him hitting free agency, the two sides are talking extension via Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
To prevent that from happening, the Dodgers and Kershaw have been in discussions over a record-breaking deal that could pay $30 million per season for as many as 10 years
This is the same type of deal that the two sides reportedly discussed during the 2013 season, but Kershaw had cold feet about signing such a long deal. In 2013, the Texas native won his second Cy Young award in three years and posted one of the more impressive seasons in baseball history.
Today, along with catcher A.J. Ellis and closer Kenley Jansen, Kershaw filed for arbitration for the last time before he becomes a free agent after the 2014 season. MLB Trade Rumors projects Kershaw to receive close to $18-$19 million for one year and the last two-time Cy Young award winner, Tim Lincecum, received a two-year, $40 million deal in arbitration two years ago.
Along with Kershaw, the Dodgers have also had discussion about a contract extension with shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who says he wants to retire a Dodger after a successful first full season. Adding Tanaka would be that big splash, but locking up Kershaw for the next 10 years will ensure the Dodgers have the best pitcher in baseball for the next decade.
UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports provided more information about contract talks:
The Dodgers, according to major league sources, want to sign Kershaw to a contract extension by Friday, when clubs must exchange contract proposals with players who filed for arbitration.
FOX Sports reported in August that Kershaw was close to signing a record-setting, seven-year extension in the $210 million range earlier last season before the Dodgers backed off. The contract under discussion then would have included an opt-out clause, giving Kershaw the right to become a free agent after five years, sources said.
ICYMI: Here’s the latest with the Dodgers pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka