While the sides officially aren't speaking publicly about it, based on how the new Dodgers ownership team has acted and the value it places on big-time players, it's hard to imagine the Dodgers not locking up Kershaw at some point. Opening day isn't necessarily a hard deadline, though Giants star Buster Posey and Tigers star Justin Verlander treated it as one before making their big deals, for $167 million and $180 million, respectively.
Kershaw would appear to be in even better position as a 25-year-old left-hander. Like Verlander before he signed his big deal, Kershaw can become a free agent after the 2014 season.
Kershaw also plays for the biggest-spending team in baseball, a team that's raised its payroll from $90 million to start the 2012 season to $220-plus million to start this one. The Dodgers are the new Yankees. Their acquisition of $260-million in contract in a trade with the Red Sox is unprecedented, and their $147-million deal with Zack Greinke was at the time a record for a right-handed pitcher (since eclipsed by Felix Hernandez and Verlander).
"He's got them buy the you know what,'' one competing owner said of Kershaw's bargaining position with the Dodgers.
It isn't hard to imagine the first guaranteed $200-million deal here. (Verlander can make $202 million if his eighth-year option vests.)
One noted Dodgers blogger, Mike Petriello, suggested they may be getting close on a $200- million deal, though that is unconfirmed at the moment.
The one small advantage Verlander had is that he was already contracted for $40 million over the next two years whereas Kershaw will make $11 million this year and is arbitration-eligible next year.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti declined comment.
Kershaw's agent, Casey Close, texted, "Nothing to report.''
If nothing's imminent, though, the sides are at least talking.