Dodgers' Kershaw becomes highest paid pitcher ever 0
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts during the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Busch Stadium on Oct 18, 2013 in St. Louis, MO, USA (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitching ace Clayton Kershaw agreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract, ESPN.com reported Wednesday.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles first reported the news that includes an opt-out clause in the contract after five seasons. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com confirmed the deal.
Kershaw, 25, wasn't yet a free agent and had one year of arbitration remaining. This deal buys out the final year of arbitration plus up to six years of free agency.
The contract is a record-breaker, as the previous largest contract for a pitcher was Justin Verlander's seven-year, $180 million extension to stay with the Detroit Tigers.
Kershaw, who was 16-9 last season, dominated the National League pitching leaderboards to win the National League Cy Young award for the second time in three years. He finished first in ERA (1.83), strikeouts (232) and walks-and-hits-per-inning-pitched ratio (0.92). Kershaw came in second in innings pitched (236), and he tied for third with 16 wins.
Kershaw was the NL Cy Young winner in 2011, and he finished second in 2012 to R.A. Dickey, then of the New York Mets.