Another shoe dropped Wednesday.
Clayton Kershaw — the 25-year-old who was trending toward serving as next offseason’s biggest pitching prize — has been locked up by the Dodgers thanks to a landmark seven-year, $215 million contract.
It is a deal worth more than Justin Verlander‘s $180 million deal, or the $175 million contract given to Felix Hernandez. He will make an average of $30.7 million per season. It was no surprise. Kershaw is the game’s best pitcher already at an almost unfathomable young age.
For the time being, Kershaw’s deal is an aberration. Not even David Price, who will become a free agent after the ‘15 season, figures to reach such financial heights considering the Tampa Bay lefty is already 28-years-old.
Jon Lester is another who won’t be making Kershaw money. But the Red Sox starter did just potentially make more money because of Kershaw.
With the Dodgers’ ace off the market, Lester and Detroit’s Max Scherzer head into the 2014 season representing most desirable potential free agent pitchers (with Cleveland’s Justin Masterson, the Reds’ Homer Bailey, and Kansas City’s James Shields just a notch behind).
First off, according to major league source, the Red Sox have not started talks with Lester about a possible extension beyond the 2014 season. All signs continue to suggest negotiations will start once spring training rolls around.
Kershaw’s financials aren’t likely to sway Lester’s market, but the sudden absence of the LA ace on next year’s open market is notable. Assuming the Red Sox lefty comes close to his ‘13 performance, he would now join Scherzer as the two options for teams searching for lock-down No. 1 starters.
One of those teams looking for a No. 1 after ‘14: The Red Sox. That is unless Lester leaves Scherzer as last man standing.
These are negotiations the Red Sox would seemingly be a bit more aggressive toward than, say, Jacoby Ellsbury. The five-year, $80 million offer extended to the free agent outfielder let a team like the Yankees creep in. It’s an approach ‘ with demand seemingly far outweighing supply ‘ the Sox might not duplicate with Lester.
“You sit down with your agent, sit down with your family and realize, yeah, there’s possibly millions of dollars that you left on the table. But at the same time, you’re secure. Your family is secure,’ Lester said earlier this offseason on WEEI’s ‘The Hot Stove Show’. ‘You’re with the team and you don’t have to worry about anything. And the same thing will go here in the next couple months or the next however many months. If you sign a deal before you become a free agent, you’re probably most likely leaving money on the table.”
Lester might very well give the Red Sox somewhat of a financial break, but that doesn’t mean John Henry’s team won’t have to pay. There is an easy jumping off point for the lefty, with LA’s Zack Greinke (3 months older than Lester) owning eerily similar regular season numbers to the Sox’ ace without the postseason resume.
Greinke owns a six-year, $147 million deal. So there you go.
While giving a starting pitcher a contract averaging upwards of $20 million a year wouldn’t seem to fit the Red Sox’ new profile, it is an avenue they might be able to afford to venture down. Kershaw money? No. Greinke’s payday? Perhaps.
The reason for the acceptance of a new Lester deal is due to the financial flexibility the rest of the Red Sox’ rotation offers. Taking a look at the current group, both Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster come off the books after ‘14, while Clay Buchholz is under the Sox’ control through ‘17, never making more than $13.5 million. Also of note is that John Lackey‘s number dropping to the major league minimum for the final year under Sox’ control, ‘15.
Then you have pitchers like Felix Doubront, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster and Henry Owens who have top-of-the-rotation potential, yet reside years away from their free agent hauls.
Let’s say Lester takes a deal averaging $25 million per year for six seasons. For the next four campaigns, the Red Sox’ starting staff could very well make up no more than about $45 million in any of those years. That’s manageable, especially considering the kind of quality you would likely be getting.
For example, this year’s rotation is going to cost the Red Sox slightly more than $65 million for ‘14. (For what its’ worth, the Dodgers’ starters will combine for more than $90 million in the upcoming season.)
It remains to be seen how Kershaw exiting next year’s free agent class translates. The guess here? In the short-term, the payoff for Lester might be more of a sense of urgency from the Red Sox. And if no resolution is found come next November, those still looking for an ace could push Lester into financial stratosphere closer to Kershaw than the Sox’ hurler could have ever imagined.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price examine what direction the Patriots might take in the upcoming NFL draft and how the team will go about filing their needs, including replacing Darrelle Revis. Petraglia and Price also take a close look at the Patriots' 2015 schedule and what to expect this season.
Ian talks with Chris about the NFL offseason and specifically what the Pats have done and will do. He talks about NFL free agency, if Brandon Spike will come back to New England, all things NFL Draft and more in an extensive interview.
in hour 2 of NFL Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss some news from around the league including the Philip Rivers situation in San Diego, if the Titans may sign Rivers, where Marcus Mariota may end up, and what the Jets will do. Price talks with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport about all things NFL offseason and the draft. Finally, the guys touch on if the NFL is over-saturating fans with too much coverage all year round now.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Continued Red Sox talk on benching Victorino and the Red Sox pitching issues..and Sean's love for the band Poison.
Dale and Michael check in with the Red Sox manager John Farrell for his weekly take on all things Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox beat the Rays 1-0 in Tampa tonight, Joe and Dave talked with the man who scored the only run and also caught five different pitchers in the process, Ryan Hanigan.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Gary, Gerry and Kirk talk about a set of parents who decided to have their child's gender changed into being a boy.
The guys talk about the Tsarnaev family arriving in Boston and staying at a local hotel. Michele McPhee joins the show to talk about the family.
Gary, Gerry and Kirk argue about whether or not Tom Brady's absence from the Patriots' trip to the White House was disrespectful or not.
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The guys debate whether or not the Celtics even have a chance against the Cavs in game 4 and what the mentality of fans should be.
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Michael, Jerry and Dale speak with draft guru Todd McShay of ESPN for some insight on what the Patriots might do in the upcoming draft.
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Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
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