Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kershaw extension shouldn’t impact Dodgers’ plans with Tanaka

Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN.com broke the news via Twitterthat the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have come to an agreement on a seven-year, $215 million contract with an opt-out clause after the fifth year. Will it come at the expense of Masahiro Tanaka?

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal wroteearlier this morning that the agreement could be worth anywhere from $250-300 million but over a possible 10 or 12-year span. So, this is a lesser deal in total guaranteed cash, but worth an average over $30 million per season.

After three straight seasons leading the National League in ERA there was little doubt that the Dodgers were going to have to pony up at some point in order to keep Kershaw who would have become a free-agent after this season otherwise.

While nailing down Kershaw is going to create a massive drain on the Dodgers' budget, there is little argument against it. Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet and he is one of those players whose supreme talent warrants extreme cash.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman speculated via Twitterbefore the news broke of the agreement that just because the Dodgers and Kershaw could come to an agreement before salary arbitration figures are exchanged Friday, we shouldn’t assume the club would be out of the Tanaka sweepstakes.

I’d tend to agree with him.

Look, the Dodgers’ ownership is not just signing random players to massive contracts; they are signing very good players to massive contracts. They have the means and they want to win championships. Why should it end with Kershaw, when they could get even deeper in the rotation with the likes of Tanaka?

A rotation headed by Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tanaka? That would leave Dan Haren, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett to fight for the fifth starter spot. WOW!

So, teams like the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks should not feel their chances get better with a Kershaw extension. In fact, don’t be surprised in the Dodgers don’t blow everyone else away for Tanaka now that they've kept Kershaw for much less guaranteed than many suspected.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo. Besides his work here, Chris is a New York Yankees contributor for Yahoo Sports. Connect with Chris on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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