MLB Trade Rumors projected that Kershaw's arbitration amount may reach up to $18.25 million. On his current contract, Kershaw would become a free agent at 2014's end. The Dodgers would like to keep their ace on the roster past the 2014 season to avoid him hitting the open market, even if it means paying Kershaw more per year than his projected arbitration amount.
The Dodgers and Kershaw were close to a seven-year, $210 million extension last season, but the deal was never completed. Early in those negotiations, contracts such as 10-years, $250 million and 12-years, $300 million were reportedly discussed. The highest paid pitcher in 2013 was the Mets Johan Santana at $25.5 million (per baseballplayersalaries.com).