- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN Insider
Clayton Kershaw will earn about 75 cents to 80 cents per heartbeat over the next seven years, given the seven-year, $215 million contract agreement that was reported by ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne. So he is the most obvious winner in all of this.
Kershaw will earn the most significant yearly salary in U.S. sports history, $30.7 million -- and will still have the opportunity to opt out of his deal at the age of 30, if the landscape changes. He works hard, he is accountable, he is ridiculously competitive, and as I explained here the other day, he's pretty grounded. So if the Dodgers are going to invest record-setting dollars in any player, Kershaw -- with success and competitive integrity -- is a good guy to bet on.
There are other winners, and losers, as the dominoes from this deal fall.
Winner: Masahiro Tanaka
The right-hander from Japan was going to make a lot of money anyway, with some general managers estimating that he'll get more than $100 million in his deal because he's a 25-year-old, front-of-the-rotation, free-agent starter, and those don't come along very often.
But Kershaw's deal allows Tanaka to draft in his wake and provides a softer context for the Tanaka bidding; this makes it easier for teams to offer whopper contracts, so if the Yankees or the Dodgers dangle $125 million or more, it won't seem quite so crazy.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Tanaka will do great things.