|Clayton Kershaw finished second in the NL Cy Young voting this past season after winning it in 2011. (Getty Images)|
The Dodgers, focusing on more immediate pitching concerns, have yet to begin talks on a possible new long-term deal for star lefthander Clayton Kershaw, who finished second in the N.L. Cy Young voting this year after winning the award in 2011, sources said.
Though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has said Kershaw is on their winter agenda and it's hard to imagine baseball's new biggest spenders letting one of baseball's best starting pitchers get away, Kershaw has beefed up his representation, as he's moved with longtime point man J.D. Smart from Hendricks Sports to Excel Sports. Veteran New York-based agent Casey Close, who will assist Smart in talks, oversees Excel's baseball department.
Kershaw has long been repped by Smart, who left Hendricks Sports for Excel a few months ago, Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal reported. Kershaw remained with Smart after the move, sources say.
Kershaw, who went 14-9 with a league-leading .253 ERA and 229 strikeouts, is to make $11 million in 2013 as part of a two-year deal signed while with Hendricks. The 2012 Roberto Clemente award winner is a free agent after 2014.
The Dodgers are focusing at the moment on more immediate pitching concerns now, such as the negotiations for Korean lefthander Ryu Hyun-Jin and the pursuit of another free-agent starter, with Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez and possibly Kyle Lohse on their radar after Hiroki Kuroda remained with the Yankees. LA won the bidding for Ryu with a $25.7-million bid and has three weeks left to sign him.
Close/Excel also now have veteran Yankees star Andy Pettitte after hiring agent Jim Murray, Pettitte's longtime point man at Hendricks. The Hendricks Agency, long known for repping baseball stars, especially ones near them in Houston (Roger Clemens is their most famous client), has been depleted by staff defections this year.
Pettitte is expected to decide by sometime next week whether he will return for another season with the Yankees. The team expects he likely will come back though it hasn't heard from him officially.