Dodgers rumors: LA to open contract extension talks with Clayton Kershaw

Jeff Gross

Even with all their spending in the last year, the Dodgers may have their biggest handout still ahead of them.

The Los Angeles Dodgers plan to approach young left-hander Clayton Kershaw about a long-term contract extension that could net him record money, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:

With Zack Greinke set to draw an average salary of $24.5 million over the next six years, some baseball executives and agents are wondering whether Clayton Kershaw could become the first pitcher to earn $30 million a year.

At 24, Kershaw is five years younger than Greinke. He's also considered a better pitcher.

"He's a true No. 1," said one agent...

The Dodgers plan to approach their ace in the near future to talk about a long-term contract extension.

"As we get through the next few weeks, we'll look into that and see what we can do," General Manager Ned Colletti said.

For now, Kershaw has a two-year, $19 million contract to finish out and an ailing hip to rehab. The left-hander received a wide range of diagnoses on his hip at the end of 2012 -- one recommending major surgery that would have sidelined Kershaw for part of 2013 -- but eventually found his way back to the mound. The Dodgers do not view the hip as a recurring problem, and seem to have no qualms about offering the left-hander a long-term deal.

Between the new contracts of Hyun-jin Ryu and Greinke, the Dodgers have up to $179 million locked in over the next six years for two-fifths of the rotation. If the club wants to lock up Kershaw long-term as well (but actually save some money) Hernandez believes that the best course of action would be to come to terms on a new deal with the left-hander this winter, using Ryu and Greinke's deals as templates.

The Dodgers are unlikely to offer no-trade protection in any extension, but that should not stop talks from progressing.

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