Kershaw is in his last year of arbitration eligibility, meaning he could become a free agent after the season. Considering their free-spending ways, their pursuit of Tanaka, and Puig, and a couldn't-care-less-about-the-luxury-tax attitude, the Dodgers aren't likely to let that happen.
They have until Friday to negotiate with him before arbitration figures are exchanged. The 25-year-old would likely set a new record by going through the process -- projections have him earning the biggest raise in arbitration history.
According to Rosenthal, he could ask the Dodgers for as much as $20 million after winning his second NL Cy Young award and posting one of the best full-season ERAs in recent memory (his 1.83 ERA last season was the best since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 ERA in 2000, and the ninth-best single-season mark since the mounds were lowered in 1969). The team would likely counter with a much lower figure, leaving the final amount to be decided by the panel.
However, the Dodgers appear determined to avoid an expensive one-year deal in favor of a long-term extension in an effort to keep their best player in Los Angeles throughout the foreseeable future.
Early on in negotiations, Kershaw and the Dodgers discussed proposals that ranged from 10-years, $250 million to 12-years, $300 million. If he signs an extension, he's almost certain to top the previous record for a pitcher -- Justin Verlander's seven-year, $180 million deal with the Tigers -- and if Kershaw can land a $300 million deal, he'd be the first player in MLB history to to do so.
But this isn't going to be a one-year arrangement unless extension talks are shelved and Kershaw sees the arbitration panel. Either way, records are likely to be broken.
The Dodgers have been far from frugal since being purchased by the Guggenheim Partners in 2012, yet, their success in adding several very talented, very expensive players would seem grossly shortsighted if they somehow let Kershaw hit the open market as a result.
This does not appear to be a notion they have entertained.
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