2:07pm: Dodgers president Stan Kasten has confirmed that the club is looking to complete a deal with Kershaw in the near term, according to a tweet from Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. "I am hopeful that, by the [arbitration exchange] deadline Friday morning, we can work something out," Kasten said in reference to Kershaw.
Kasten also left the impression that a Kershaw extension would not preclude the club from pursuing Masahiro Tanaka, Shaikin further tweets. Though he declined to discuss the Japanese hurler, Kasten said that he does not "think any one contract impacts any other."
11:15am: ESPN's Buster Olney says Kershaw and the Dodgers are "at the two- or the one-yard line" in terms of completing a record-setting extension (video link).
8:28am: The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw are discussing an extension, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who reports that the team would like to have an agreement in place by Friday. Los Angeles' preference is to have a deal in place by the time the two sides are set to exchange arbitration figures.
Rosenthal reports that the two sides were close on a seven-year, $210MM extension last season before the Dodgers backed off and adds that early in the negotiation process, a 10-year, $250MM contract and a 12-year, $300MM pact were discussed. Rosenthal also reports that the near-agreement last season contained an opt-out after the fifth year that would've allowed Kershaw to hit the open market again at age 30. The Dodgers gave Zack Greinke an opt-out after three years of his deal, and Kershaw has the same agency — Excel Sports Management.
Kershaw is fresh off his third straight National League ERA title and his second Cy Young in three years, having pitched to a 1.83 ERA in 2013. Over the past five seasons, Kershaw has pitched to an incredible 2.43 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9, and his command has improved in each of those seasons. He averaged nearly five walks per nine innings as a 21-year-old in 2009 but averaged just two per nine innings last season. Kershaw's accomplishments make it seem as though he's older than he actually is, but incredibly, he's still entering just his age-26 season.
As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted back in April, CC Sabathia's $161MM guarantee is the largest "new money" extension ever signed by a pitcher, though Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez have had larger guarantees that included the money from previously existing deals. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected an $18.2MM salary for Kershaw next season if the two sides simply work out a one-year deal via arbitration, but a long-term deal would obviously require a significantly larger annual value.