Clayton Kershaw Got The Contract Extension That He Deserves

by Gavin Ewbank | Posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014
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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

If you’re going to be the best, shouldn’t you be paid like the best?

Yes, as a matter of fact, it does pay, pretty darn well, to be the best at what you do. And there is no difference in the case of Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreeing to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension on Wednesday.

We have known all along that a deal like this was coming, but it was a only a matter of time. The two sides had been talking about this for a long time, and Fox Sports even reported back in August that they were close on a seven-year, $210 million deal before the Dodgers backed out.

Kershaw has been one of the league’s best pitchers over the past handful of years. He’s won two Cy Young awards in the past three seasons, and he’s led the league in ERA three years in-a-row. In those three seasons, he’s gone a combined 51-23.

Not since the great Sandy Koufax have the Dodgers been the home of a pitcher this great. The kid is only 25 — turns 26 in March — and he’s already paving his path to be tone of the greatest pitchers of all-time.

But even when you have players that as gifted and as talented as Kershaw, you still get those people that question the idea of giving players record-setting contract, like the one Kershaw just signed.

Not only is his contract the largest ever given to a pitcher — topping the eight-year, $180 million pact given to Justin Verlander last spring — but his $30.7 million per year salary is also the highest ever for a professional baseball player — yes, even higher than Alex Rodriguez‘s ridiculous contract with the New York Yankees.

And the contract was well deserved. It is for all players that sign monster contracts, at least, when they fist sign it. See: A-Rod, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

Pujols and Hamilton, most recently, signed big deals with the Los Angeles Angels, and neither has played up to their standards so far. Pujols has been far from the player he was with the St. Louis Cardinals, and Hamilton was very good in year one of his five-year deal. Don’t even get me started with A-Rod.

Kershaw wasn’t the only player to get a big payday this offseason. Remember that 10-year, $240 million contract that Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners? The Mariners will always remember.

Especially when they’re paying Cano late into his career when he’s half the player that he is today. See, they paid him for what he did so far in his career with the Yankees, not what he is going to do throughout his career in Seattle.

But when you really breakdown the specifics of massive long-term deals, do you know what those those four have in common that Kershaw doesn’t? Age.

Pujols signed his contract with the Angels when he was 32-years-old, Hamilton, too. Cano signed with the Mariners at 31-years-old, and A-Rod was also 31.

Kershaw on the other hand, is just 25. He’ll be 26 this season, and in five years, he can opt out of his current contract at 30-years-old and seek an even bigger is his performance over the next five years can earn him even more money.

I wrote on a personal blog in February of last year that Kershaw would be the first pitcher to hit the $200 million contract mark, and I wasn’t alone when I said that. This kid is special, and he deserves every penny of that $215 million.

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Gavin Ewbank
About the Author

Living in always-too-hot Florida, Gavin an MLB Columnist for BHC. Apart from that, he occasionally covers high school sports for the Palm Coast Observer. You can follow Gavin on Twitter @GavinEwbank.

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