Report: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers Nearing ‘Record-Breaking Deal’

Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers might soon make history.

Kershaw and the Dodgers could agree to a record-breaking deal this week, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The Dodgers reportedly want to sign the reigning National League Cy Young winner to a contract extension by Friday, which is when Major League Baseball clubs must exchange contract proposals with players who filed for arbitration.

This isn’t the first time that Kershaw and the Dodgers have discussed a massive contract extension. According to Rosenthal, the two sides discussed a variety of proposals early in negotiations — including 10 years, $250 million and 12 years, $300 million. FOX Sports reported in August that Kershaw was close to signing a seven-year extension in the $210 million range, but the Dodgers reportedly backed off. Rosenthal reports that the seven-year extension would have included an opt-out clause that would have allowed Kershaw to become a free agent after five years.

Kershaw was one of 146 MLB players to file for arbitration Tuesday, and the Dodgers reportedly would like to complete a deal before Friday’s 1 p.m. ET “pre-exchange contracts” deadline because the gap between the two sides’ proposals could be significant. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Kershaw could earn $18.25 million through arbitration.

The parameters of the contract currently being discussed are unclear, but it’s possible that Kershaw will become the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history, both in terms of total dollars and average annual salary. CC Sabathia‘s one-year, $30 million extension with the New York Yankees in 2011 stands as the largest contract ever in terms of average annual salary, while Alex Rodriguez‘s 10-year, $275 million contract extension with the Bronx Bombers in 2008 is the largest MLB contract in terms of total dollars. Justin Verlander‘s seven-year, $180 million contract is the biggest contract ever given to a pitcher, and Kershaw likely will surpass that and become the first ever $200 million hurler.

Kershaw, who turns 26 in March, just earned the second Cy Young award of his six-year career. The left-hander went 16-9 with a 1.83 ERA, 232 strikeouts and a 0.92 WHIP in 2013. Kershaw, who also has a Cy Young runner-up finish in 2012, has won three straight National League ERA titles and is widely considered the best pitcher in baseball.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported last week that the Dodgers plan to go “all-out” to sign Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka figures to land a nine-figure contract, so we’ll see if Kershaw’s extension impacts those negotiations in any way.

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