Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension, avoiding arbitration, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The $30.7 million-per-year is an MLB record. Earlier on Wednesday, speculation was that Kershaw's extension would come this week.
The Dodgers ace has dominated hitters all throughout his young six-year career. In 2013, Kershaw had the best season of his career (ranked by ERA+), posting a 16-9 record with a 1.83 ERA (led MLB) and a 0.915 WHIP (led MLB) in 33 starts. His excellence led him to an MLB-leading ERA+ of 194. His best outing (by Game Score) was his July 2 outing against the Colorado Rockies. Kershaw pitched a shutout, allowing just four hits, and striking out eight.
Kershaw's dominance in 2013 did not lead him to this massive contract. Sure it helped, but Kershaw's entire career has been phenomenal. Over his career, Kershaw has a 2.60 ERA and a 1.092 WHIP in 184 games (182 starts) all with the Dodgers. His 146 ERA+ is first among all active pitchers.
Although Kershaw will be the richest man in baseball history per year, he definitely deserves a gigantic contract, much like the one his was issued. He has been the anchor of the Dodgers rotation since becoming their Opening Day starter in 2011. Over his career, he has been dominant, and one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues.