The Dodgers locked up MVP candidate Matt Kemp to an eight-year, $160MM contract earlier this offseason, but they aren't close to signing any more of their core players. Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter) that the team has yet to discuss long-term contract extensions with Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw.
Ethier, 29, is projected to earn $10.7MM in 2012, his final trip through arbitration before becoming a free agent after next season. The two-time All-Star slumped in the power department in 2011, hitting just 11 homers while battling knee and elbow problems. He's a .291/.364/.479 career hitter, though he has struggled against left-handers (.242/.302/.359) and the advanced metrics don't love his defense.
The 23-year-old Kershaw can't become a free agent until after 2015, but signing him might be the more pressing issue for the Dodgers. Our model projects him to earn $8.4MM in 2012 thanks to his Cy Young Award, even though it will be just his first time through arbitration. The southpaw led the National League in wins (21), ERA (2.28) and strikeouts (248) last year, and in his three full seasons he owns a 2.63 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 608 2/3 innings.
Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested a five-year, $30MM deal for Kershaw back in August 2010, but the Dodgers can forget about that now. A contract in line with the ones signed by Felix Hernandez (five years, $78MM) and Justin Verlander (five years, $80MM) before last season are more reasonable comparables.