Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers just received the biggest contract for a pitcher in MLB history, signing a deal worth $215 million over seven years. The way that Kershaw has pitched, one could always sense that the Dodgers were going to be absolutely crazy if they even thought about letting him go.
He has become perhaps the most dominant pitcher in baseball and is definitely the face of the Dodgers franchise. Now that Kershaw is signed, it does make one wonder what would happen to a pitcher like Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox.
Lester is due to become a free agent at the end of the 2014 season. Does he deserve Kershaw money? He sure pitched like an ace for a good part of the 2013 season and he was absolutely lights out in the postseason. It is extremely possible that the Red Sox wouldn’t have won the World Series without him.
Working on a lot of his mechanics and having John Farrell and Juan Nieves being able to watch him daily has helped him turn the corner. Lester has become the consistent top-of-the-line starter that he has long been projected as his ceiling. However, he hasn’t been overwhelmingly dominant like Kershaw has.
Kershaw has won two of the last three Cy Young Awards, while Lester was up and down and in 2012, suffering probably his worst year ever. Right now, they really can’t be compared because Kershaw seems to be performing in a completely different zone than everybody else.
That doesn’t mean that Lester won’t get paid. Boston would be stupid not to re-sign him. Quality left-handed pitchers are extremely hard to come by and if Lester pitches anything like he did last season, he will be good to go. He won’t make Kershaw money, but he will absolutely be paid what he is worth.