Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Dodgers officially locked up staff ace Clayton Kershaw for the next seven years on Friday, signing the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner to a contract extension through the 2020 season.
Financial terms of the deal were not released, but multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that the pact would pay Kershaw a colossal $215 million.
The deal would eclipse the seven-year, $180 million contract Justin Verlander signed with the Detroit Tigers prior to last season as the largest given to a pitcher in MLB history, while its $30.7 million annual value would be the most ever for any player.
According to ESPN, the contract includes an opt-out clause after five years.
Kershaw, who was entering his final arbitration-eligible season, captured his second Cy Young honor in three years with a brilliant 2013 campaign. The All- Star left-hander led the majors with a 1.83 earned run average and topped the NL with 232 strikeouts, while posting a 16-9 record over 33 starts for the NL West-champion Dodgers.
"It is an incredible privilege to be part of the Los Angeles Dodger organization for another seven years," Kershaw said in a statement. "L.A. has become a second home to me and my wife, and I'm excited for the opportunity to represent the city for a long time to come. I am particularly grateful to our team's ownership and front office for believing in me. With this contract comes tremendous responsibility, not only as a pitcher, but as a good steward of the resources given to me. To whom much is given, much is required. Ellen and I are excited to take an undeserved blessing and, Lord willing, make a difference in the lives of others. I'm humbled by this recognition and looking forward to a new season, and hopefully, a World Series championship for the city of Los Angeles."
The 25-year-old's 2.21 ERA over the past three seasons is also the best in baseball, and he's gone a superb 51-23 over that span while striking out 709 batters in 697 innings.
Kershaw also won the NL Cy Young in 2011 after amassing a 21-5 record and an MLB-best 2.28 ERA over 33 starts. His 248 strikeouts that year trailed only Verlander for the most in the big leagues.
The former first-round pick has also been extremely durable, having logged at least 32 starts and 204 innings in four consecutive seasons.
"There are great players and pitchers in the game," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. "And then there are those who are truly special. Clayton is not only among the elite of this era, but the perspective he and Ellen bring to their lives in helping others is equally remarkable. We have been honored to have the Kershaws as part of the Dodger organization and we are honored to have them as part of the Dodger family for years to come."
Recently suspended New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez still owns the largest overall contract in MLB history, a 10-year, $275 million pact he signed in 2007.