Clayton Kershaw will not become the first $300 million dollar man ever. He will however, be the richest pitcher in the game.
Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to terms on a 7-year $215 million dollar deal, according to sources. This deal surpasses Justin Verlander’s 7-year $180 million dollar contract as the biggest ever given to a pitcher.
It was reported last October that the Dodgers offered Kershaw a life-time contract in excess of $300 million, but Kershaw was uncertain about committing to such a deal.
Kershaw, 25, is currently the best pitcher in the game, having won 2 of the past 3 National League Cy Young awards, including last season where he went 16-9 with a dazzling 1.83 ERA and 232 strikeouts.
Like most huge contracts given to players, most haven’t panned out over the duration of the contract. Johan Santana missed significant time with shoulder injuries, Barry Zito quickly became ineffective, Mike Hampton was a disaster, and Kevin Brown had an up and down tenure with the Dodgers.
As free spending a team as the Dodgers are, there was never really a doubt they were going to let Kershaw test the free agent market. The Dodgers have also been linked as one of the favorites to land Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka. What impact Kershaw’s contract has on LA’s pursuit of Tanaka is unclear.