Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers agree to 7-year, $215 million extension

Dilip Vishwanat

Kershaw's average annual salary will be the highest ever earned by a baseball player.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have agreed to a seven-year, $215 million extension, according to ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne.

With an average annual value of $30.7 million, Kershaw will have the highest yearly salary ever earned by a baseball player. The deal also represents the most lucrative guarantee ever made to a pitcher, topping Justin Verlander's seven-year $180 million extension with the Tigers.

There was some speculation that the deal would also break the record for total value -- some reports estimated a deal worth more than $300 million, which would have shattered Alex Rodriguez' 10-year, $252 million deal. Los Angeles expressed interest in reaching an agreement with their ace left hander earlier in the week, hoping to come to terms before Friday's deadline for exchanging arbitration figures.

Kershaw's camp appears to have valued the flexibility of a slightly shorter commitment. The new deal runs through 2020, and includes an option for Kershaw to out clause after the 2018 season. At just 30 years old, he'll be able to opt out of the deal and enter free agency. If he continues to pitch at his current level, another record-setting contract could await him on the open market.

The 25-year-old has been among the most dominant pitchers in the league, resulting in two NL Cy Young awards and a second-place finish in 2012. Since debuting for Los Angeles in 2008 at age 20, his career 2.60 ERA has been the best in baseball. He will turn 26 in March.

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