MLB

Rosenthal: Kershaw, Dodgers on verge of record-breaking deal

Image: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (© Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
Wednesday was payday for Clayton Kershaw.
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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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Finally, a resolution may be near.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and left-hander Clayton Kershaw could agree to a record-breaking deal this week.

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.

The deadline for “pre-exchange contracts” that day is 1 p.m. ET. The two sides are working to complete a deal before then, knowing that the difference between the Dodgers' offer and Kershaw’s request could be significant, sources said.

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.

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Kershaw, after winning his second NL Cy Young Award in 2013, could ask for more than $20 million in arbitration, eclipsing Prince Fielder’s record $15.5 million settlement in 2011.

This is Kershaw’s final year of arbitration before he becomes eligible for free agency, and he is coming off a two-year, $19 million contract.

MLBTradeRumors.com projects Kershaw to receive $18.25 million through arbitration. The Dodgers likely would offer him less than that.

Kershaw and the Dodgers discussed a variety of proposals early in the negotiations, including 10 years, $250 million and $12 years, $300 million, sources said.

Since then, Kershaw’s resume only has improved – he now has led the National League in ERA in each of the past three seasons, and his 1.83 mark in 2013 was the lowest in the majors since Pedro Martinez’s 1.74 mark in 2000.

An average salary of $30 million would match the highest in baseball history: CC Sabathia’s one-year, $30 million extension with the New York Yankees in 2011.

A deal of more than $200 million would be the largest ever for a pitcher, surpassing Justin Verlander’s seven-year, $180 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.

A five-year opt-out, meanwhile, would allow Kershaw to hit the open market at 30 and perhaps secure an even bigger deal. The Dodgers granted a similar clause to free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke last offseason, enabling him to escape his six-year, $147 million contract after three years.

Kershaw and Grienke are represented by the same agent, Casey Close. The Dodgers also are involved in the bidding for another of Close’s clients, Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

Tagged: Yankees, Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw

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