The 2018-19 free agent class doesn’t look quite as exciting now as it has promised to at points in the past. Still, it’s a notable assemblage of talent. And at the top of the list of pitchers sits future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw.
Of course, that statement comes with some caveats. In particular, Kershaw will need to opt out of the remaining two years and $65MM on his deal. While that once seemed a foregone conclusion, Kershaw has not been quite his vintage self this season — or, in truth, in the campaign prior. With the backdrop of ongoing back problems, there are undeniably some cracks in the armor.
If Kershaw’s recent form has betrayed his mortality, though, it has still also illuminated his ongoing excellence and value. After all, in his 312 1/3 innings since the start of the 2017 season, he has compiled a 2.36 ERA with 9.7 K/9 against 1.5 BB/9. Even with the reduction in his velocity and swinging-strike rate on display this year, Kershaw has been among the most effective starters in baseball. And the years of unquestioned dominance that came before still represent an important background factor.
All things considered, there’s not much reason to think that Kershaw can’t beat 2/$65MM in free agency. Whether he reaches the open market could still be in question, to be sure. It’s not hard to imagine a new agreement of some kind with the Los Angeles organization coming together before Kershaw is forced to decide on the opt-out clause (or, if he does exercise it, before qualifying offer decisions are finalized). Then again, he and the team know much more about his medical situation than do the rest of us, so perhaps there’s still some possibility he’ll simply opt into the remainder of the deal.
Regardless of how it comes to pass, Kershaw will presumably end up with a more-or-less market-driven rate of pay, even if a deal comes with the Dodgers before he’s formally a free agent. After all, Kershaw’s reps at Excel Sports Management no doubt have a good idea what they think he’s worth, as does the L.A. front office.
For those of us on the outside looking in, it’s a bit more difficult to gauge. The Dodgers and others will surely be stingy, in particular, with the length of the commitment for a pitcher entering his age-31 season. But the focus here will be on the total cash posted rather than on how many seasons it’ll be spread over. Knowing what we know now, and presuming Kershaw finishes the season at his current trajectory and without any significant new injury issues, which level of total guarantee do you think he’ll sign at?
Am I an idiot, or can I not see the mobile users poll?
Can’t it be both?
I absolutely despised the app for Android and deleted it several months ago. It did nothing but have issues for me. Now I just access the website directly through my internet browser of choice.
Doesn’t show on Apple. But that’s okay, because I don’t see up and down votes, either. Or avatars…..like my lovely Chief Wahoo.
Mr. Jeffrey Todd decided screw app users this time and didn’t include the link
at least they do 99% of the time unlike pro football rumors which link the poll 0% of the time for mobile users
oh I know, I was 100% not being serious
Some of the Trade Rumor writers still forgot about needing a link for mobile viewers.
Part of me thinks they should pay for a plugin programmer and fix the short code issue.
I know that I’m in the vast minority, but I just don’t see Kershaw opting out with as many health issues as he has had this season.
Agreed. No way any team overpays for Kershaw’s past success given his health history.
Oh they most definitely would.
Kershaw has an ERA under 2.50 in 22 starts. Even if he hadn’t won 3 Cy Youngs, a MVP, and been picked for 7 all-star games, he’d have lots of interest in FA.
Teams will pay for 20 starts with a low ERA
Any team giving a contract to CK that’s over $66 for 3 years is simply acting irresponsibly.
You do realize Arrieta just got 3/75M in last year’s market right? If Kershaw somehow takes 3 years it’ll be for 85-100M. My guess is 5yr/130-145M
If he gets a five year deal then it is a bad contract no later than the 2021 season. He’ll turn into Kevin Brown by early year three.
that’s it?! no. no he’ll be 6/7 years 175+. desevedly so
So Kershaw should barley get more money than Alex Cobb. LOL what a joke. When he is out there he is still a dominant pitcher. If his performance was actually falling off a mountain sure. But its not.
Cobbs contract is a total joke. One of the worst in baseball.
Yeah, the only thing falling off, is Kershaws arm. The dude has pitched 200 INN once since 2013. Anything major for this dude is a frikkin joke. And will end up being a horrible contract
Nah it’s not his arm, it’s his back
Since the beginning of 2014, Kershaw has the 17th most IP in MLB. He has more innings in that time than Bumgarner, DeGrom and Cole to name a few. His ERA has also been over a half run better than any other SP with only 9 pitchers having an ERA within one run of him.
Arrieta is both older and got more. 3/66 would be a great contract.
The Dbacks would
At 3/$66mm I honestly think just about every team would have interest, including teams like the Rays, A’s and probably even Marlins. Just on name value alone I believe he is worth that contract.
Did he begin pitching 200 innings again? LOL
He’s in his age 30 season and has a career ERA of like 2.37. He’s going to get way more than that.
He’d be the healthiest arm the Angels had in their rotation if they went after him
Hey Bros, speaking of mobile phones and browser using, would someone please tell me if it is possible to delete a comment?
Sorry for changing the subject, but maybe it is the Android acting up!!
Whichever big market guy gets shut out on Harper/Manny will go the 5/175 suggested. Injuries or no, Kershaw’s the signature pitcher of his generation. He’ll get paid for it.
BUT if I had a gun at my head, I’d guess he stays in LA and gets that kind of deal.
Kershaw is an incredible pitcher that has numbers worthy of the HOF. Signature pitcher of his generation…..Max Scherzer should at least be considered as well, and that’s coming from a Kershaw fan.
Scherzer has had a fantastic run the last few years and might be the best pitcher in baseball at this moment in time, but he really doesn’t compare to Kershaw for their careers or this generation. Over the past 100 years, Kershaw has the lowest ERA, FIP, ERA- and FIP- for any pitcher with 1500+ IP. For some comparison on just how great Kershaw has been, his career ERA, FIP and xFIP are 2.37, 2.63 and 2.93. Scherzer’s best single season ERA, FIP and xFIP are 2.31, 2.66 and 2.88. Kershaw’s career numbers would be Max’s 2nd best single season numbers in each category.
Wow, I would have echoed socalblake on this one, even as an obvious Kershaw supporter. But when you put it that way, its clear who the superior pitcher is.
Yes but bulk matters
Scherzer doesnt compare. He actually stays healthy
What do you mean by bulk matters? Scherzer is 34 and has 2099 IP, with 6 200+ IP seasons, while Kershaw is 30 and has 2072 IP, with 5 200+ IP seasons.
Scherzer is in the midst of a career year with his current 2.31 ERA representing a career low. Kershaw currently has a 2.42 ERA and this would be the first time since 2012 where he has an ERA above 2.31. Over the past 8 seasons, this is the 2nd time Kershaw has had an ERA above 2.31.
Another way to look at how great Kershaw has been. Over the past 8 seasons Kershaw has a 2.12 ERA and 2.42 FIP over 1589 IP, while Scherzer has a 3.08 ERA and 3.06 FIP in 1677 IP. Scherzer’s ERA and FIP are closer to such pitchers as Archer (3.74 and 3.50), G. Gonzalez(3.54 and 3.47), Lynn(3.59 and 3.69) and Zimmerman (3.70 and 3.70) than he is to Kershaw.
That’s what she said
I can see 3 Years Guaranteed with 2 Option years in LA,35 a year is way steep,I can see 30?
I can’t see any way the Dodgers let him leave. I think they do what it takes to keep him around for a long time.
He is the closest lefty to Sandy Koufax the Dodgers may ever have again. They will be very loyal to Kershaw and I believe he is happy being a Dodger.
That would be a cut on his yearly salary, which won’t happen, especially since he signed that extension almost five years ago (January 2014).
Years matter. He’s not going to replicate a maximum per year salary, over 5-7 years.
The more years, the less yearly $.
It’s crazy how “Kershaw has not been quite his vintage self this season” but he’s still worth 4.3 WAR. Insane.
IMO, Kershaw will opt out then sign a new deal with the Dodgers that will significantly reduce his AAV but guarantee him $100MM to $125MM. Perhaps a $10MM signing bonus with 2019 and 2020 salaries of $28MM followed by salaries of $20MM in 2021 – 2023. $126MM over 6 years with an AAV of $21MM.
that would basically be the Dodgers valuing Clayton Kershaw as much as Yu Darvish was valued by the Cubs.
I can see an AAV under $35m through age 35-36, but with a bonus that could bring the take home to near $40m if he can make the starts.
How much is enough?
TBD, that point has not yet been reached
In the baseball/sports world, that’s not a logical question.
The market will mostly decide what constitutes “enough”.
I have seen an increase in his HRs given up since last year. Is it just missing spots to good hitters or slowing of the pitches or less bite on the famous slider?
Probably a bit of losing bite, and a general trend. Home Runs are at record high levels, so it’s probably just a new water mark.
Reports are on Christian blogs that Kershaw isn’t praying as much as he did a few years ago, so I think God has taken some of the bite off of his pitches.
That was mildly douchey
You should pray for some new material
Let’s not take the crown of Clayton Kershaw just yet. As Winston Churchill said “now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Hey, like the middle!
With the markets for guys over 30 tanking lately and Kershaw’s injury history, I think he gets 1-2 years added on to his current deal at about the same AAV. That puts him in the $90-$120 million range.
I see the Dodgers keeping him at a similar AAV, but doubling the legnth and adding a 5th year vesting option. Something like 4/$135mm with a $35mm vesting option based on IP that becomes a team option with a $5mm buyout if it doesn’t vest.
Michael A. Gould
Rangers are going to throw stupid money at him. Like 5/$175
I think the Dodgers will likely extend Kershaw before he opts out. He has 2 years left at roughly $70M. Maybe the Dodgers extend him for 5/$150. That puts him at roughly 7/$220M which is slightly higher than his previous contract. On the open market he very well might get something in the 7/$200M+ range. Teams will look past an injury history when they’re dealing with a pitcher with Kershaw’s accolades. That being said….I think he either re ups with LA or goes to TX to be closer to his family.
5 years 150 million with the Angels. With an option for a 6th year and 25 million. He wouldn’t have to move. The current Dodgers ownership, has shown they are not willing to give big long term contracts to players. Just look at Grienki, if they had him last year, the Dodgers would have won it last year.
Kershaw is not the same as basic free agents in recent years. This is the franchise icon. They will be willing to give him anything remolty reasonable
Echo that sentiment. All anyone who doesn’t believe this needs to do is attend a Dodger game. The aisles are full of 22 jerseys and t-shirts. This guy has been the heart of soul of the franchise for ten years now and not a single Dodger fan doesn’t fully expect to see him play out his career here, and to be inducted into the HoF on the first ballot wearing a Dodger uniform, and his retired number hanging above the reserve seats. The Dodgers letting him go would be like Paris selling the Eiffel Tower to Berlin because they got a good offer.
Thought the same thing about Verlander in Detroit.
And you might be right if the Dodgers were a rebuilding club.
Who’s to say he will be asking for reasonable?
It will be LA or Texas
We don’t know yet whether he will opt out, but one thing almost completely certain is that the Dodgers are not going to extend him. If he does opt out, they will let him go to free agency and work to sign him back. For some reason this FO does not believe in extensions. They haven’t done a single one yet. In the end it’s hard to imagine that the FO could be so tone deaf as to allow Kershaw to play out his career anywhere else. It that happened it would be just another PR catastrophe to heap on top of all the others.
Well, this particular FO has shown itself to be pretty unconcerned about PR catastrophes, so it is possible to imagine them letting him walk if the dollars or the years get too high. Remember it was basically one year that kept them from getting Greinke back and they still won’t admit that was a bad decision even though Greinke in Game 7 would have likely ended the 30 year drought. Somedays it seems like Friedman still bleeds Tampa blue.
6 yr/$165 mil. Not worth it, but he will get it. He’s Clayton Freaking Kershaw!
i hate my father
Kershaw is damaged goods, yes he’s a special talent but if he opts out he won’t resign with the Dodgers. Anyone around the team knows all to well how fragile his back is, this is not something that will work itself out and what many fans don’t know is that Kershaw is not one of these guys who wants to play late into his 30’s. Kershaw admires how Koufax went out on top of his game and you’re just as likely to see him retire as you are to see him opt out. There is more than baseball for this special human being. Kershaw desperately wants a title, but the prep needed to keep his back from failing wears on him, just enjoy it while it lasts because he won’t be around much longer.
I don’t understand the logic of paying any pitcher that amount of dough for pitching every 5th game.
Why are some of you throwing out a deal of 3/$66 when he is currently guaranteed 2/$65? That makes no sense whatsoever.
Because they are hoping that his agent reads that and tells him not to opt out.
Kershaw to the Giants for a one two punch with MadBum! Give him 140 mill for 4 years! I mean the Giants want to get older right?
4.35 ERA in 122 career post season innings. I’d spend my money elsewhere and I’ve been a die hard Dodger fan since the 60’s.