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.
Price calls Butch to discuss the March 2nd deadline for franchise tags, free agency and the Pats' plans going forward.
Shortly after the NFLRA released its statement demanding an apology from ESPN, Jim Quirk, the NFLRA's Executive Director, joined Mut to talk about the statement
WEEI's Chris Price joins Mut to talk about his experience of being in yesterday's Patriots championship parade, and which New England free agents could return to play for the Pats next season.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Jessica Camerato of basketballinsiders.com joins the show to talk about Marcus Smart, the starting lineup, and trade deadline.
The one and only Rob Bradford calls Butch to discuss his early thoughts on this Red Sox team, the potential in the rotation, how the outfield will shake out and more.
David Ortiz takes a few minutes to talk with Mut, Bradford, and Tomase about some of his new teammates, who Pablo Sandoval reminds him of, and the rules aimed at speeding up the game of baseball.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking Red Sox spring training. and talk with Red Sox DH David Ortiz about the rules aimed at speeding up the pace of the game
In the second of Sunday Skate, DJ and Joe discuss the approaching NHL trade deadline and what the B's will do. They get into the Boychuk move at the beginning of the season and Boychuk's brother venting on Twitter this morning about complaining B's fans. There is more discussion on the 3rd and 4th lines, their playoff chances and then they are joined by ESPN's Scott Burnside.
Another edition of Sunday Skate is upon us and DJ and Joe get into the B's big win over Arizona last night and the improvement of Ryan Spooner. They get into the Blackhawks giving up a 1st round pick for C Antoine Vermette - someone the B's could certainly use but weren't willing to give up the steep price of a 1st rounder. DJ and Joe also get into Claude's willingness to switch up lines as well as the performance of the 3rd and 4th lines. Finally, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sits down with the boys.
Scott Burnside joins the boys to discuss the Bruins and the NHL trade deadline.
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.
Curt Schilling didn't back down when twitter trolls took shots at his daughter. Dino, Gerry and Kirk applaud Schill's stand.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk look back at their weekend in Fort Myers. Who visited Mommy and Daddy over the weekend?
Dunkin Donuts liked Christian's "bacon covered doughnut" idea. SNL does an ISIS skit. The Pittsburg Pirates issued a statement condemning "Jihadi John's" Pirates hat.
With free agency looming, Adam Schefter, on Sportscenter, said that he thinks Darrelle Revis will NOT be re-signed by the Patriots and that they will cut him instead, making him the most coveted free agent on the market.
Barry Melrose joined the show to talk about the NHL trade deadline. Although Melrose likes the trade of Brett Connolly from Tampa to Boston, he thinks the team needs to make more moves to keep ahead of Florida, who just traded for Jaromir Jagr. He also weighs in on the job security of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli.
Michael, Mike Mutnansky and Jerry Thornton talk Bruins AFTER the trade-deadline and check in with the fans.
We examine four trade deadline day deals that helped or affected Boston teams in recent history.
Michael, Mike Mutnansky and Jerry Thornton talk Bruins before the trade-deadline and check in with the fans.
Mikey, Mut, and Lenny are joined by the Rev girls, who are revealing the New Revolution uniform Tuesday at the House of Blues in Boston and talking about the Revs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Maggie talk Red Sox baseball with Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill Lee, who is in Florida and out of the snow that's perpetually burying the area.
Mikey gets a call from Kirk Minihane, who wants to clear the air with Mikey and get everything settled. It goes better than you think.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about their time in Fort Myers and are joined by a special guest, Doug Lane.
Boston University coach David Quinn joins WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin to discuss the Terriers’ Beanpot title and how he feels about his team as the postseason approaches. Quinn also discusses reports about NHL interest in goalie Matt O’Connor and briefly touches on a recent misstep by Jack Eichel.
After a wild trade deadline, Ben Kichen and Sam Packard breakdown the Celtics and the rest of the NBA. Then Sam yells at Ben about the use of analytics in basketball. Ben yells back.
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