No Major League Baseball team has ever given a pitcher a contract worth $200 million. But according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Dodgers may go right past that landmark number and make Clayton Kershaw the first player at any position to sign a contract worth at least $300 million.
According to the report, the Dodgers already made an offer to Kershaw "in the range of $300 million." Kershaw turned down the offer in part because of the length of the deal. Olney described the deal as a "lifetime contract." Kershaw also wanted to postpone talks until after the season.
Earlier this year, owner Magic Johnson promised publicly to make Kershaw the highest-paid pitcher. "He's our Sandy Koufax of today," said Johnson. "That's how important he is. We feel he is the best pitcher in all of baseball. And when you are the best, you gotta be paid the best. We understand that."
The largest contract ever given to a pitcher belongs to Justin Verlander of the Tigers, who signed a 7-year, $180 million contract. That deal will become an 8-year, $202 million contract if Verlander finishes in the top-5 of the Cy Young voting in the final year (2019).
Kershaw is eligible for arbitration this off-season. He just finished a 2-year, $19 million contract that paid him $11 million this season.
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