Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw will be a free agent following the 2014 season. While the team has said it will negotiate a long-term deal with its ace, Kershaw admitted Saturday to being curious about testing the market, reports the Los Angeles Times.
"I think any player, that's the reward of baseball, to make it to that point," Kershaw told reporters. "I think any player gets curious when you get close, for sure."
Kershaw is expected to command an extravagant sum on his next deal and could become the highest paid baseball player ever. Previous negotiations between the pitcher and the Dodgers reportedly reached as high as $300 million at one point during the season. Kershaw was unwilling to commit at the time, however. On an open market, it's anyone's guess as to how high the money will soar.
Still, it may be unlikely that Kershaw ever reaches free agency. The Dodgers are dead set on retaining him and have been baseball's biggest spenders the past two years. Kershaw was asked if he thought a new deal could be reached soon.
"I really don't know what to expect. I'm just kind of open-minded going into the off-season. Whatever happens, I'll be coming back next year anyway. I'm just trying to prepare for that," the 25-year-old said.
Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in baseball right now. He has maintained an ERA under 3.00 for the past five seasons, including three with the NL's lowest, and he's led the league in strikeouts twice. He's expected to win his second Cy Young award this year and also has a second-place finish under his best.
He finished with a 1.83 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 2013, his best season to date. He also notched 232 strikeouts and just 52 walks while tossing 236 innings.