Clayton Kershaw has agreed to a seven-year, $215-million contract extension that will make him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, according to people familiar to the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity because the deal isn’t expected to be announced until Friday.
The previous record contract for a pitcher was the seven-year, $180-million deal signed last winter by Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.
Kershaw’s new deal includes a clause that would allow the left-hander to void the remainder of the contract after five seasons.
If he hadn’t agreed to an extension, the two-time Cy Young Award winner would have been eligible for free agency after the upcoming season. Kershaw, 25, was eligible for salary arbitration this year.
In a meeting with Times staffers Wednesday, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said he was optimistic the team could sign Kershaw to an extension by Friday. That is the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players.
“I’m hopeful that by the deadline Friday morning we can work something out,” Kasten said.
Kershaw won his second Cy Young in three years last season, when he was 16-9 with a 1.83 earned-run average. Kershaw has led the National League in ERA in each of the last three seasons.
A Texas native, Kershaw was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft. He made his major league debut less than two years later, at age 20.