Clayton Kershaw Nears Arbitration Payday

Clayton Kershaw has a considerable amount in common with the ace of the Dodgers’ American League counterpart. Like Jered Weaver, Kershaw blazed through the minor leagues after going early in the first round of the draft. Both struck out more than a batter per inning last year (9.3 K/9) and should start for their respective teams on Opening Day.

Kershaw

If all goes well for Kershaw this year, he’ll follow Weaver’s career path in one other respect. The Dodgers left-hander could push his 2012 salary past the $4MM mark, a rarity for first time arbitration eligible starters. 

Weaver made $4.265MM last year, when he led MLB in strikeouts in his first season of arbitration eligibility. Kershaw, who is two years behind Weaver in the arbitration process, could set himself up for a similarly impressive contract by continuing to pitch well this year in his final pre-arbitration season.

Weaver’s numbers through his first two-plus years resemble Kershaw’s current numbers. Weaver had more wins (35 vs. 26) and fewer losses (19 vs. 23) and walks (132 vs. 224) than Kershaw has now. However, Kershaw has a better ERA (3.17 vs. 3.71), more innings (483 vs. 460 2/3) and strikeouts (497 vs. 372) and fewer hits allowed (388 vs. 445) than Weaver.

Kershaw already compares favorably to some starting pitchers in the class ahead of him, those who were arbitration eligible for the first time this past offseason. His career stats will help him, but they won’t be enough to match Weaver’s 2010 salary. 

Kershaw needs a platform year like the one Weaver had in his final pre-arbitration season. Back in 2009, Weaver went 16-8 with a 3.75 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 211 innings, setting himself up for $4MM-plus in arbitration.

There are no guarantees for Kershaw, though he’s better-positioned than most of the other starters who will go to arbitration for the first time after 2011. But if he continues to stay healthy and pitch like a number one starter in 2011 it’s possible that the 23-year-old will match Weaver’s $4.265MM mark in 2012 and set himself up for more money through arbitration in 2013 and 2014.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


54 Responses to Clayton Kershaw Nears Arbitration Payday Leave a Reply

  1. Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

    They need to lock this guy up now. Given the fact he is on pace to hit free agency in 2015 a seven year deal (4-5 year with options) is’nt out of realm of possibility.

    • Alex Gomez 4 years ago

      Completely agree. LA needs to lock up Bills too!

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

      Long term lockups are a double-edged sword. I don’t think I need to supply Dodger fans with any examples.

      • vtadave 4 years ago

        One thing to sign a 34 year-old pitcher like Kevin Brown to a seven-year deal versus a 23 year-old I suppose.

        • BlueSkyLA
          BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

          That wasn’t the example I was thinking about, but it works just fine. Unless a team has an infinity of cash to spend (read: NYY), then ANY pitcher they sign to a long-term deal is a risk. These signings usually look good in theory, but often not so great in practice.

          • GaryLe 4 years ago

            What? Every single well run team, infinity cash or not, locks up their young pitchers. See Seattle with Felix, Detroit with Verlander, Toronto with Ricky Romero, Boston with Lester, Florida with Josh Johnson etc. Even the ones that pretty much bomb, (like Fausto Carmona or Brett Myers) are so team friendly they still look palatable relative to the endless money dump that is free agent pitching.

            In fact the Yankees are like the only team that clearly has a preference to go year to year until their young players reach free agency specifically because they have infinity money.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            All young pitchers sign team-friendly deals because they and/or their agents are ____? You fill in the blank.

          • vtadave 4 years ago

            True, but at some point you HAVE to take those sort of risks. Otherwise, you’re constantly “developing” pitchers and also constantly losing them to other organizations.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Or sign others as free agents. In theory we’d all want to see a pitcher like Kershaw stay with LA for many years to come, assuming he continues to pitch well. But how many Dodger fans would be griping about management if they gave him seven years and he blows his arm out in two? Those other five years aren’t going come cheap because everybody knows what he could be worth on the free agent market. A current team isn’t going to get big discount off a player’s future earning capacity. Long term deals, especially for pitchers, are a risk. Maybe worth taking sometimes, but let’s not try to pretend that it’s without a potential downside.

          • vtadave 4 years ago

            You may think you are being rational and I sort of tend to think you are, but ANY pitcher can blow out his arm at any point. It could be Kershaw two years into a seven-year deal or Jason Schmidt five minutes after signing for $47 million. For Kershaw, the Dodgers could finally start to rebuild some trust with the fanbase, a group that is going to spring training games with far less frequency this year (42% decline). To get anyone near Kershaw’s ability on the open market is going to mean offering CC Sabathia money, and I fail to see how that is any better than locking up homegrown talent.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Pleasing fans by keeping homegrown talent at home, is a very different issue. Assuming the Dodgers or any other team wants to do that, I think it’s reasonable to consider in this case whether Kershaw will demand Kershaw money for a contract extension. We can easily estimate his value on the open market today, and have to know that the Dodgers are NOT going to get him for much less. Unless he or his manager are incredibly generous, or totally insane. Personally, I’m not counting on either one. If the Dodgers want to buy out Kershaw’s arbitration years and his first years of free agency, it’s going to cost them. Big. Very big.

          • VAMOSGIGANTES 4 years ago

            cause you have no money

  2. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    LOVE this kid! Saw him pitch at Dodgers Stadium last year. His curveball makes major league hitters look like you and me.

    • Gumby65 4 years ago

      As time goes by, he seems to be parking that ridiculous curve in favor of an equally nasty slider. We haven’t seen the best of Mr. Kershaw yet…

  3. meep 4 years ago

    one day dodgers are going to have a 1, 2, 3 of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Zach Lee and maybe add another guy name Rubby De La Rosa to make that 4 guys. but that if they can keep Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley.

    • Amish_willy 4 years ago

      With Billingsley a free agent after 2012, it will be interesting to see A) if the Dodgers do lock him long-term, and B) how much it takes. Feel the same about SF & Cain, who is under control through 2012 as well.

      Lot of potential FA’s in the NL West at that time: Billingsley, Kemp, Cain, Sanchez and Drew head the class. With Lincecum likely a 20m player come 2012 and Zito making the same, got to say it will be very intersting to see how the Giants pitching shakes out going forward. I think Billingsley & Cain have a shot at 90-100m contracts with a couple big seasons these next two years. Not sure how likely it is for them to remain with their current teams if that were to happen.

  4. bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

    Can’t wait until our rotation is: 1. Kershaw 2. Lee 3. DeLaRosa 4. Billz 5. [insert free agent here] ASSUMING WE CAN LOCK THE RIGHT GUYS UP. Give it 2-3 years, Kuroda will give way to DeLaRosa next year then in 2013 Garland [assuming he pitches 200+ this year] will give way to Lee. I’m excited.

    • meep 4 years ago

      that if Ned dont f things up and trade lee or delarosa away and if they can keep Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. plus if that happen are pitching staff would be one of the youngest with out talking about the 5 guy. bills will be the oldest at a good age of 29 or 30. dont forget if Ely can get his head straight he could be a nice 5th pitcher

      • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

        I’m hoping DeLaRosa and Lee [considering he got the highest signing bonus for any Dodger draft pick thus far] are both untouchable. I have a feeling Ely is going to make the 5th starter out of spring training then if he pitches well enough in April/early May he may become trade bait once Garland gets off the DL

        • meep 4 years ago

          just image in about 3 years phillys vet team vs dodgers young guns. that would be a game to go to. or even giants vs dodgers

  5. bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

    ha beat me to it

  6. meep 4 years ago

    2012 or 13 if all are good young guys are up we will have a nasty team. that if lee, delarosa ,Trayvon Robinson,Ivan DeJesus and gordon come up. then add that to the other 5 young guys on the team man i cant wait for 2 to 3 year from now. that if ned still here and doesnt mess things up

    • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

      Replace DeJesus with Sands

      • meep 4 years ago

        can one of them play 3rd? then you can just have both

        • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

          DeJesus MAYBE, but he’s not projected too much higher than a bench player. In three years time our team will hopefully be:

          1B. Sands 2B. Uribe or FA/Trade SS. Gordan 3B. Uribe or FA/Trade C. FA/Trade LF. Ethier CF. Kemp or Robinson RF. Kemp or Robinson

          SP1. Kershaw SP2. Lee SP3. DeLaRosa SP4. Billz SP5. FA/Trade

          And that is if we can lock up Kershaw, Billz, Kemp, Ethier like we should

    • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

      You can say that about any team, if all their prospects play out, but not all of the prospects will play out.

    • markjsunz 4 years ago

      You can not wait for a bunch of minor leaguers to come up? If they were any good they would already be in the majors. It is going to be a tough road for the Dodgers. McCourt will not bring in quality players. I would not be suprised if he lets Kemp, Either, and looney go.

  7. meep 4 years ago

    the dodgers team in about 3 years if everyone still there it will have lee, delarosa ,Trayvon Robinson,Ivan DeJesus and gordon, kemp, lonely , Ethier, bills and Kershaw. that will be a fun team to watch cant wait

    • ateam043 4 years ago

      you are thinking way ahead of yourself. Kemp and Ethier will be entering their walk-year next year.

      Dejesus looks nothing more than a platoon player.

      • meep 4 years ago

        i know but im just looking at a team we could have and hoping for down the road because this dodger team right now not something to get to happy over other then the young guys in spring training and Kemp is in better shape and hitting better

        • stl_cards16 4 years ago

          I don’t think it would be too big of a shock to see the Dodgers contend or even make the playoffs this year. They have a nice core, and with a couple breakout/bounce-back seasons they could be right in the thick of things in the West.

          • meep 4 years ago

            true i have no doubt this team can be good. but down the road they can be even better

        • ateam043 4 years ago

          I feel ya Jeremy. As a mini-season (25 games) ticket holder for the last few years, I want them to excel.

          I’m a big believer in Kemp, Ethier, Bills, Kershaw.

          Here are my thoughts:

          Ethier: Would be better served as our first baseman.
          Kemp: Moved to RF, and let Robinson handle CF if he can hold his own.
          Bills: Sign to a modest deal averaging around 8 mil.
          Kershaw: Sign him now!! Before he starts to make big money.

          • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

            Stick Ethier in LF and play Sands at 1B. With ya on everything else

          • meep 4 years ago

            maybe one year we can steal bj upton from the rays and have him play 2nd

          • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

            Sounds great but I believe he’s an outfielder?

          • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

            Upton used to play second, but they moved him away from the position because he was never very good at it.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            actually came up as SS

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            huh?

          • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

            Don’t worry, we’ll get Pujols when we get new owners at the end of the year =]

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            ………..

          • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

            You just said that to a Cardinals fan…

          • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

            Haha the only reason I said it. Don’t worry, I don’t really expect it (hence =]). Just trying to get a rise you guys

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Sands has never played above double-A. It’s a little early to be penciling him into the lineup, don’t you think?

          • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

            You’ve said this before and again, NO. It’s not like I’m saying put him in opening day this year. We’re talking about prospects, none of them are coming up right now. Hence talking about playing Robinson in CF..

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            I know what you are saying. And I’m saying you shouldn’t get so excited about a player who has never played above double-A.

          • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

            Do you have anything positive to say, ever? I bet you’re the type when someone hits a homerun and everyones celebrating you chip in and say “Yeah but no one was on base.” Why can’t someone get excited about an up and coming prospect? If you wouldn’t extend a young stud pitcher who would you extend?? I mean, CMON

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            A very large percentage of minor leaguers wash out and never arrive or don’t perform as hoped/expected when they do. Call it negative, if you insist, but it is still a fact. I’ll get more excited by prospects when they get at least close to major league play, not when they’re so far off you can hardly even see them with a telescope. As for extensions, I guess you can’t refute anything I said. You sure haven’t tried. Nice effort at telling me what I think. Next time, why not try responding to something I actually said?

          • bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

            “Long term lockups are a double-edged sword. I don’t think I need to supply Dodger fans with any examples.”
            Was this not you?

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Sure was. Which only goes to show that you haven’t responded to anything I’ve said, because this question was already answered, at length.

          • markjsunz 4 years ago

            None of these guys are tearing up the minor leagues. None up them really project as major leaguers. As long as McCourt owns the team you should not expect to much. Except Prices hikes on everything from parking to the ticket prices. But like McCourts PR people say. Yes we tripled the price of tickets but isn`t it exciting you can now get a grilled Dodger dog on every level. 100% Hoofs and knuckles, and rectum openings.

  8. Kershaw is absolutely nasty; the Dodgers need to get him locked up. I don’t like the Dodgers too much but I can’t wait to watch Kershaw pitch.

  9. BobbyJohn 4 years ago

    Dear Dodgers,

    Please mess this up somehow and let this guy get away sometime in the next couple of seasons.

    Sincerely,

    The rest of the NL West

  10. VAMOSGIGANTES 4 years ago

    Giants need to make this the Cliff Lee like sign for the 2012 season. Sabean can talk a young kid to play by the bay in a nicer safer and fuller ballpark. If we go on or not our revenue is better than LA’s. Colletti is more concerned about Kemp and Ethier. Imagine 2012 Giants Starting being Lincecum Kershaw Cain Bumgardner and Vogelsong. That could happen if Sabean can convince him to play for the rival. BEAT LA!!! VAMOS GIGANTES!!!

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