If you're looking for the least surprising news of the offseason, this will do just nicely:
Clayton Kershaw extension probable
And from the Los Angeles Times:
The Dodgers appear comfortable enough with the condition of Kershaw's hip that they are expected to explore the possibility of a long-term contract extension with him before the start of spring training.
The Dodgers are a month away from giving Michael Bourn a five-year deal to be a spot starter at third base, and they're currently on the phone with the Angels, seeing if Josh Hamilton might be available for their bench. Money is not an object for the Dodgers. We knew that. I'm not even sure if it's a concept for the Dodgers. They're just forest nymphs frolicking in piles of endless leaves, completely oblivious to their abundance and splendor.
The first thing the Dodgers' new ownership did was sign Andre Ethier to a very generous contract. That was the very first move, keeping a pending free agent around for the long-term, almost as if to prove a point. Months later, there were rumblings the Dodgers might trade Ethier to make room for someone like Hamilton or Michael Bourn. It's almost as if the Dodgers weren't enamored of Ethier as a solution for their specific roster, but they re-signed him just so the other 29 teams would keep their grubby paws off their property.
It was a statement. And Clayton Kershaw's agent put a pen to his pursed lips, propped his feet on his desk, and said, "Hrmmmmm."
The second thing the Dodgers did was get Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins. The third thing the Dodgers did was acquire the Red Sox in a hostile takeover. The fourth thing the Dodgers did was sign Zack Greinke to the second-largest contract ever given to a pitcher.
And Clayton Kershaw's agent tapped a pen to his pursed lips, kept his feet on his desk, and said, "Hrmmmmmmmmmm."
It has to be a fascinating set of negotiations behind closed doors. The Kershaw camp absolutely knows the Dodgers will do anything to keep him. The only way the Dodgers would let Kershaw go is if his demands were so ridiculous, the Dodgers could reveal them in the press and let the public note just how ridiculous they were. But the Dodgers know there isn't another team that would pay Kershaw as much as they would, so there's no way his agent would make demands ridiculous enough for that.
The negotiations will result in the least surprising news of the offseason (or spring training, or mid-season, or ...). Clayton Kershaw will:
a. get the biggest contract ever given to a pitcher, surpassing the $161 million given to CC Sabathia, and ...
b. not get something too much more than that, considering the Dodgers don't want to set an entirely new market for ace pitchers. Hey, they might want to buy another one or two or five in the coming years.
The only question is Kershaw's hip, which was the subject of some scary articles last September.
"He's still feeling it, knowing that he can't really extend the leg at all," Mattingly said. "There was no fight, as far as him trying to pitch. He knows he can't pitch with this."
That was September 16. He pitched three games after that, throwing 21 innings and allowing two runs. The Dodgers weren't worried enough about the hip to sit him. Kershaw wasn't worried enough about the hip to sit himself. And obviously his pitching wasn't affected. It seems to be a non-issue.
The contract will be for a lot of money. The contract might even be for the most money. But it's coming. You know it. I know it. The Dodgers know it. And, most importantly, Kershaw's agent knows it. There's a better chance of the Angels trading Mike Trout to the Astros than there is of Clayton Kershaw reaching free agency after the 2014 season. The only question is just how far you'll spit your Cheerios when you read how much he signed for.