Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers agree to 7-year deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers and their 25-year-old staff ace, Clayton Kershaw, have agreed to a seven-year deal worth $215 million, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.

Per Shelburne, the deal allows Kershaw, who would have been eligibility for free agency in 2015, to opt out of the deal after the fifth season.  Easily becoming the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history, Kershaw's deal beats the extension signed last year by Detroit's Justin Verlander by $35 million.

The winner of two N.L. Cy Young awards in the past three seasons, Kershaw finished second to R.A. Dickey the year he didn't win it.

Not only does Kershaw have a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past five seasons, he has led the N.L. in ERA for three consecutive years including a career-best 1.83 ERA last season.  In addition, he has led the league in WHIP in each of the past three seasons and has 200-plus strikeouts in four consecutive seasons.

Without question, Kershaw will be the slam-dunk top fantasy pitcher when I release my initial 2014 fantasy baseball rankings later this month.