The Dodgers already locked up one of their cornerstones this offseason when they signed Matt Kemp to an eight-year, $160MM extension, but they may be eyeing a repeat. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Dodgers have met with 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw's representatives and discussed a long-term deal, though no serious talks have taken place yet.
Kershaw, who will be 24 on Opening Day, will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. With the help of Matt Swartz, MLBTR projects the southpaw to earn a whopping $8.4MM, which would be a record for a first-time arbitration case.
If Kershaw continues at his current pace, he could be in line for $20MM through the arbitration process by his third year of eligibility. A long-term deal for the Dodger southpaw would likely exceed the value of the five-year pacts signed by both Justin Verlander ($80MM) and Felix Hernandez ($78MM) in lieu of their second rounds of arbitration.
Both Verlander and Hernandez signed their extensions prior to winning the AL Cy Young Award, and both pitchers' projected second-year arbitration salaries compare at least somewhat favorably to what Kershaw would earn in his first. When examining the situation in the Dodgers edition of the Offseason Outlook series, Tim Dierkes estimated that Kershaw could command something along the lines of $90MM over the course of six years. Remarkably, an extension could approach nine figures, despite the fact that Kershaw has yet to see his 24th birthday.