Per reports, the Dodgers and the lefty – who led the ERA in all of baseball on 2013 with the lowest mark since 2000 – agreed to a seven-year, $215 million extension. The deal is the most lucrative ever given to a pitcher in history, topping the $180 million deal the Detroit Tigers gave to Justin Verlander. That said, it was apparently a bargain based on how crazy the market for pitchers have been in recent years.
Kershaw’s deal cements his place as the best pitcher in the majors as he has a unique mix of talents that is rarely seen all at once. He is the ultimate workhorse who led MLB in both ERA and strikeouts, and he’s a lefty on top of that. While the contract can be justified in terms of salary, it is another thing to say that Kershaw will be easily able to live up to the mega-deal.
With big deals usually come huge responsibilities, and the Dodgers will be expecting nothing less than what Kershaw has given them in the last three years. While he is ahead of the curve in terms of development and projects to get even better as he is not in his prime yet, the ultimate goal for L.A. is to win a World Series. If Kershaw can’t get it done, the deal will surely become the center of attention as time passes.
The 25-year-old ace will be able to opt-out of the deal after five seasons, meaning he could hit the open market by age 30. But as of now, the reigning Cy Young Award winner is the best pitcher on baseball and has the largest contract in history. It remains to be seen if he will be able to live up to the deal but if past seasons are of any indication, then Kershaw’s contract might even be a bargain when he hits his prime.