FanDuel - WFBC

January 15, 2014

Dodgers Drive Money Truck to Kershaw's House: The Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have agreed on a seven-year, $215 million deal, the largest in baseball ever given to a pitcher. Kershaw, 25, won two of the last three National League Cy Young Awards. He has an out clause after five years.

posted by rcade to baseball at 06:08 PM - 14 comments

Kevin Brown couldn't be reached for comment. He was busy removing the cushions from his living room sofa to see if he could find any bus money.

posted by beaverboard at 06:31 PM on January 15

He has an out clause after five years.

Ah, but the more important question is whether the Dodgers have an out clause...

posted by grum@work at 08:00 PM on January 15

What seven year (or similar) deals for pitchers have worked out? Obviously he is young and highly accomplished but it seems (anecdata) that pitching is very high risk.

posted by rumple at 08:34 PM on January 15

What seven year (or similar) deals for pitchers have worked out?

In 2010, the New York Times ran an article with the same opinion.

Not sure those other deals really qualify as "similar", given Kershaw's age and dominance.

posted by DudeDykstra at 02:26 AM on January 16

So, does this indicate that the Dodgers might pass on Masahiro Tanaka?

posted by ursus_comiter at 08:43 AM on January 16

Because of their recent TV deal, the Dodgers have more money than any other team in the majors (yes, even more than the Yankees), so I wouldn't count them out on Tanaka. If they've started to pay big bucks to win now, they can't stop.

In for a penny, in for a billion!

posted by grum@work at 10:11 AM on January 16

In 1966, Sandy Koufax held out for $125,000 a season from the Dodgers, and they relented enough to give him that much.

If you average out the number of innings that Kershaw has pitched in in the last three seasons (232.1) and assume he pitches that many for each of the next 7 seasons on the new contract (a stretch, but lets assume he's perfectly healthy), then Kershaw will earn $132,199.22 per inning of that contract.


In terms of inflation, $125,000 of 1966 USD is the equivalent of $898,753.86 in 2013 USD. The comparison, in 2013 USD per inning, is:

Koufax: $2,782.52
Kershaw: $132,199.22

That's over 47 times as much.

posted by grum@work at 11:53 AM on January 16

Yeah, but Sandy Koufax was a confirmed steroid user, who was only able to play at a major league level because of his rampant PED use. He should have been blacklisted from the game, not allowed to pitch and eventually make it to the Hall of Fame. Keyshawn, as far as I know, is completely clean.

posted by hincandenza at 12:05 PM on January 16

Not to mention Koufax gave the Dodgers grief about when he was and wasn't willing to pitch. Prima donna.

posted by yerfatma at 02:31 PM on January 16

He has an out clause after five years.

Ah, but the more important question is whether the Dodgers have an out clause...

The most important question is how many outs Kershaw can record over the next 5 years. Anything less than 2500 means the Dodgers got gypped. (Assuming about 175 innings per season).

Methinks it was not a money truck; it had to be a money convoy - of semis.

posted by Howard_T at 03:21 PM on January 16

From a Forbes article published last fall:

The headline:

Magic Johnson Warns Jay Z: Cano Price Too High For Dodgers

And the final sentence:

No matter how much money the Dodgers get from their new television deal with Time Warner Cable, Johnson is too smart to get bogged down with an Albert Pujols type contract.

posted by beaverboard at 03:51 PM on January 16

But in MJ's defense, Kershaw is still only 25, already has 2 Cy Youngs, and no hint of off-field issues. While pitchers are risky, the big contracts are typically risky because of the timing: players don't usually get that big payday until they're cresting 30, which- like Cano, Pujols, and Hamilton- means they've already started their downward slope. For those guys, a 10 year deal where the back 4 are wasted money while the front 5/6 are a team discount, can hurt a team by them losing a top player who is effectively replaced a marginal copy of themselves while still costing top dollar. But a 7 year deal, with the last two as player options? Barring injury- and thats what insurance is for- Kershaw should still be worth it in the last couple of years. And if Kershaw is still good then, he'll hopefully recall how the Dodgers treated him and keep them as first choice on any new deals.

This is the kind of move the Angels should make with Trout: pay him now, sign him through his early 30s, and don't get stuck with fan pressure to overpay him when he's fading.

posted by hincandenza at 04:04 PM on January 16

And if Kershaw is still good then, he'll hopefully recall how the Dodgers treated him and keep them as first choice on any new deals.

I think the out clause really wrinkles it - you get 5 years worth of guaranteed performance for 7 years worth of risk. If Kershaw's worth $30m or more a year going into year 6, he opts out and takes more. If he's not, you're stuck with him at $30m per for two more years.

Kershaw got himself a great deal - he's more or less primed to be paid top dollar for the majority of his earning years. The contract he might get at 30 if he's still pitching at this level will be staggering.

posted by dfleming at 05:55 PM on January 16

The show I watched this morning calculated Kershaw to make roughly $9,000 per pitch.

Nothing outrageous about that.

posted by dyams at 06:39 PM on January 16

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