The Dodgers and star pitcher Clayton Kershaw were close to agreement on a hefty seven-year deal worth roughly $210MM, major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, the Dodgers wound up backing off and the two sides have not negotiated in months, according to sources.
Talks are unlikely to pick back up between the two sides until the offseason and Kershaw's asking price could be even higher by that point. The 25-year-old leads the majors with a 1.72 ERA, which would be the fourth-best among all pitchers with 150+ innings since the mound was lowered in 1969. He also has a career-best 2.0 BB/9 rate to go with a solid 8.5 K/9 in his third consecutive All-Star season.
The contract discussed would have included an opt-out clause, giving the left-hander the right to become a free agent after five years, sources said. The average salary of approximately $30MM would have put him right next to the AAV C.C. Sabathia got on his one-year extension with the Yankees in October of 2011 on the all-time list.
The Dodgers, of course, still want to strike a deal with Kershaw, who is eligible for arbitration after this season and can hit the open market after the 2014 season. An opt-out clause after year five for Kershaw would delay free agency, but he'd be on the open market again at the age of 30.