Dodgers owner Mark Walter says one reason his team decided to give Clayton Kershaw a new $215MM contract is a cautionary tale about the Cubs and Greg Maddux, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. In 1992, a 26-year-old Maddux won his first Cy Young award as a Cub, but the Cubs let him leave as a free agent after the season. He won three more straight Cy Young awards, but he won them all with the Braves. The Braves then went to the playoffs four times before the Cubs got back to the postseason again. Here are more reactions to the Kershaw extension.
- $215MM is "crazy" money, but that doesn't mean the Kershaw deal is a bad idea, writes FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal notes that, last summer, the Dodgers offered Kershaw a seven-year deal in the vicinity of $200MM, so their willingness to go slightly higher helped get the deal done. Rosenthal also notes that Kershaw's opt-out clause, which allows him to leave after five years, is a key part of the deal, since opt-out clauses are very player-friendly.
- Kershaw is close to being "the Mike Trout of pitchers," Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes. Health permitting, he could well end up "the best pitcher of his generation." The contracts for Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez helped set a baseline for Kershaw — Kershaw is better than either one, and was a year closer to free agency. Cameron also writes that, unless Kershaw gets hurt, he will probably opt out of his contract in five years. It appears he sacrificed a bit of upfront money in the contract in order to have the right to opt out of it.
- If you're going to give a pitcher $215MM, Kershaw is exactly the kind of pitcher who should get it, Steven Goldman of SB Nation writes. He's still just 25 and has a solid health record, and the Dodgers have gone relatively easy on his arm.