In January of 2014 the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed on a 7-year $215 million deal with Clayton Kershaw. The largest deal for any Major League Baseball pitcher in history greatly overshadows the previous record-holder (Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander, 7-year, $180 million, 2013). In addition, he will also receive an $18 million signing bonus (also divided over 7 years).
This breaks down to an annual average salary of $30.7 million, also the highest for any professional baseball player.
While the UFA Free agent only earned a $4 million base salary in 2014, the terms of his contract put his base salary in 2015 at $30M and this year, 2016, he will earn a base salary of $32M. For both 2017 and 2018, his contract dictates a base salary of $33M, as well. For 2019 he will earn $32M and then in 2020 he will earn $333M.
This, of course, is in addition to the signing bonus ($2,571,428 every year for 7 years.)
It was important to Kershaw not to negotiate during his baseline season, which encouraged the Dodgers to offer a deal in the range of $300 million, at first.
Now 27, the Dodgers originally drafted Kershaw in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. Since then, though, the southpaw has already won two National League Cy Young Awards. After his previous 2-year, $19M contract (with a $500,000 signing bonus), in 2012, Kershaw went into arbitration with the LA Dodgers. During this time, he went on to register a 16-9 record with an impressive 1.83 ERA, contributing to a 2.60 career ERA. That season he threw for 232 strikeouts, slightly higher than his 4-season average of 212.
Outside of the MLB, Kershaw has also won a Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work. He and his wife, Ellen, have founded an orphanage in Zambia, Africa, called Hope’s Home.