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Clayton Kershaw: Next In Line For Dodgers Payday?

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been on quite a shopping spree under their new ownership, adding over $400 million in salary commitments since taking over the reigns of the franchise on May 1. Ace starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw would seem to be next in line at the Dodger ATM, and he said he is open to a long-term deal.

"I'm always open to talks," Kershaw told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "I've had a great time here. I love the guys and I love everything about L.A."

Those are words that warm the hearts of Dodgers fans everywhere, but then again, what else would Kershaw say? Kershaw is already signed for $11 million in 2013 (plus a $2 million deferred signing bonus from this year), and he will be arbitration eligible in 2014.

It's understandable to want to lock up the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, especially one that is only 24. Kershaw is working on his fourth consecutive season with a sub-3.00 ERA and is the league leader in strikeouts and innings pitched.

Cole Hamels just signed a six-year extension to stay in Philadelphia for $144 million, an average of $24 million per year. Kershaw's numbers are pretty similar to Hamels' totals when he was two years away from free agency:

Kershaw (2008-present): 59-35, 143 starts, 903 innings, 322 walks, 928 strikeouts, 2.87 ERA, 135 ERA+

Hamels (through 2010): 60-45, 149 starts, 945 1/3 innings, 248 walks, 897 strikeouts, 3.53 ERA, 123 ERA+

If Kershaw continues on his path, he'll be in line for a big payday, one that would be in line with recent Dodgers moves:

  • Matt Kemp signed for $160 million, through 2019 (during the end of the Frank McCourt regime)
  • Yasiel Puig, a 21-year-old raw Cuban outfielder signed for $42 million over seven years
  • Andre Ethier signed for $85 million, through 2017, plus an option for 2018
  • Hanley Ramirez was acquired with $31.5 million left on his contract for 2013-2014
  • Adrian Gonzalez was acquired with $127 million remaining through 2018
  • Carl Crawford was acquired with $102.5 million remaining through 2017
  • Josh Beckett was acquired with $31.5 million remaining through 2014

Kershaw is understandably giddy about the new franchise stewards.

"I didn't know what to expect," Kershaw told the L.A. Times. "But they backed up what they said all along. You have to take them for their word. It's a fun time to be a Dodger."

For more news and notes on the Dodgers, be sure to read True Blue LA.