CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports that in mid-January the Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw expressed mutual interest in working out a long-term contract extension. However, talks between the two sides are not yet in the serious stages.
Kershaw, 24, owns a 61-37 record and an ERA of 2.79 (138 ERA+) across five major-league seasons. Kershaw won the NL Cy Young award in 2011 and was runner-up in the balloting last season. He's posted the lowest WHIP among NL qualifiers in each of the last two seasons and struck out 200 or more batters in each of the last three seasons. Given all that, it's easy to see why the Dodgers want badly to keep him in the fold.
In light of Kershaw's young age and established excellence, a contract worth $200 million or more seems likely. On the verge of a mammoth new TV contract and squarely in contending mode, the Dodgers have the resources and the motivation to pay the going rates. As Heyman reports, though, talks are taking a methodical pace thus far. There's time, as Kershaw isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season. Still, for the sake of budget certainty and to provide Kershaw with a sense of stability, the Dodgers would surely prefer to work something out sooner rather than later.
Heyman also points out that Kershaw's agent is Casey Close, who also represents teammate Zack Greinke (he of the freshly inked six-year, $159-million pact). So there's a successful working relationship in place.
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