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Dodgers: Is Clayton Kershaw’s Contract Similar to Kobe’s Final Contract?

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Early into last year’s off-season, the Dodgers quieted any speculation that Clayton Kershaw might leave for another team when they came to an agreement on a three year, $93 million deal with the future hall of famer.

Considering Kershaw’s history with the team, the deal was not much of a surprise.

When his career is all said and done, the left-handed pitcher will go down as one of the greatest to ever wear Dodger blue. Yet, despite all that he’s meant to the Dodgers in the past, some still questioned whether or not the front office made the right decision in bringing him back at such a steep price.

As difficult as it is to admit, Kershaw’s still an effective pitcher, but he’s simply not as dominant as he used to be.

Just one year into his contract, some fans are starting to wonder if his deal is reminiscent of the final deal of one of Los Angeles’ other iconic stars: Kobe Bryant.

Kobe’s Contract

In November of 2013, Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension with the Lakers that ensured that his entire career would be played in the purple and gold. Not only that, but it also maintained his status as the highest-played player in the NBA upon his signing.

At the time, Bryant was still recovering from an Achilles injury that he suffered the season before. Moreover, the Black Mamba would be entering his age 36 season when that contract kicked in.

Similar to Kershaw, he was likely never to be as dominant as his past self, and as time went on, that unfortunate sentiment became more and more evident.

The Contracts Compared

It’d be easy to just write off the Dodger’s position with Kershaw’s contract as parallel to that of the Lakers’ with Bryant, but it wouldn’t be true.

In the 2013-14 season, the Lakers superstar only played in six games in which he averaged just under 14 points a game.

The final two years of his career weren’t much better either as he put up numbers below his career average in multiple categories across the board and missed more games due to other injuries.

Worst of all, Bryant’s hefty contract prevented the Lakers from making important off-season moves to improve their team.

Whether it be due to a lack of available cap space, or the front office’s inability to convince stars to join an aging Bryant, that deal marked the beginning of one of the worst stretches in franchise history.

The Dodgers aren’t nearly in the same financial bind as the Lakers were then, and Kershaw is likely more useful to this Dodgers team than Bryant was to the Lakers from 2013-16.

This past season, Kershaw was an All-Star, posting a 3.03 ERA with a 16-5 regular-season record. He was an instrumental piece to a team that broke their franchise record for wins in a single season.

On top of all that, the Dodgers were one of the best teams in baseball and are capable of spending big money this offseason, should they choose to. The same can’t be said for those dreadful Lakers squads.

On the surface level, the deals are similar in the sense that the two historically-rich franchises rewarded their once-in-a-generation stars, but to just write off the situations as the same would be wrong.

The Next Few Years

Personally, I’m happy that we haven’t had to see Kershaw don another team’s uniform. Similar to Bryant’s career with the Lakers, I hope we never will.

Maybe just maybe, he and the Dodgers will finally deliver on a championship in the next couple of years as Bryant and the Lakers did on five separate occasions. If that were to happen, most fans will be happy that the southpaw was a part of it.

What do you think? Does Kershaw’s deal remind you of Bryant’s? Will the Dodgers ever win a championship with him on the roster? Let us know below!

NEXT: It’s OK for Fans to Admit Kershaw’s Struggles

Written by Kellan Grant

I’m currently a junior at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and I have a passion for sports journalism. I grew up in the LA area and am a diehard fan of the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, UCLA, Kings. My favorite Dodgers memory was watching Kershaw tear up after the team won the 2017 NLCS and advanced to the World Series for the first time in his career. After college, I plan on either pursuing a career as a sports journalist or working in sports law.

Comments

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  1. The thing to remember about championships is that, yes, one player can take a team a long way. But championships are won by a team, not one player. And, yes, we have a team that SHOULD win a championship with Clayton. And I think we will. As for the contract, 16-5 last year was a good year. And Clayton was healthy. He won the most games of any of our pitchers. Last year he was worth the cash. Going forward, I STILL think he has an ERA title in the tank. So, can’t wait for next year.

  2. Clayton Kershaw is still a good pitcher, and I too hope the only uniform he wears is the Dodgers. But, there is only one person on the planet that doesn’t recognize he is not the pitcher he used to be, Dave Roberts!

  3. Can not continue Financially AND Emotionally have by far your most highly paid player continue to be such an underperformer in the Post Season compared to his regular season performance. Bottom Line: Dodgers will NOT WIN a World Series with him on the roster!

  4. Kersh may not be as dominant as he once was but he’s still a top 10 pitcher and I think he has even a better year in 2020 than he did this year! He’s a Hall of Famer both as a person and a ballplayer!’Worth every penny!

    • No Better Human Being; in his Prime No Better regular Season Pitcher; No Better than Barry Bonds or Dave Winfield in Postseason!!!

  5. He can’t win it all on his own it’s a team sport but the thing about him is he decreases your chances as you get deeper that’s why he needs to go or be a spectator during October we got guys in their early 20’s who handle the moment better than this tanker, and yes i know the Astros cheated at home in 17 but what’s the excuse for 2018 when he had 2 classic Kershaw playoff outings

  6. Stories are similar. Kobe was injured where he couldn’t play. CK is dealing with injuries but still pitching. Both gave alot to their teams

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