If Ned Colletti has his way, we won't be hearing much about his club's negotiations about a new contract with Clayton Kershaw, but the Dodgers general manager did tell Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that both sides share an interest in getting a deal done.
“This is not going to be a daily discussion point for us publicly,” Colletti said. “But there is a mutual interest.”
Kershaw said last summer that he would be open to negotiating an extension, and while it has been assumed that the Dodgers would explore the topic this winter, Kershaw said that no talks had taken place as recently as two weeks ago. Kershaw signed a two-year, $19.5MM extension last February that covered his first two arbitration-eligible seasons, and he'll have one more arb-eligible year under team control before hitting free agency after the 2014 season.
While Kershaw is controlled through 2014 and there's no immediate rush to work out an extension, the Dodgers may wish to finalize a deal quickly given the ever-rising prices of frontline pitching. Felix Hernandez's reported seven-year, $175MM agreement with the Mariners sets a new standard in the pitching market and Justin Verlander (also a free agent after 2014) has an interest in discussing an extension with the Tigers. It seems like just a matter of time before we see a pitcher signing a $200MM deal, a number that Kershaw could get from the Dodgers and would absolutely get as a 26-year-old free agent if he kept up his current form.