10 Bold Predictions for 2013: Clayton Kershaw will be the next member of the $200M club

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2013 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our eighth prediction: Clayton Kershaw becomes baseball’s next $200 million dollar man.

Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in major league baseball not named Justin Verlander.  He is also five years younger and is currently playing for the new biggest spenders in baseball, the LA Dodgers.  I don’t have to spout off Kershaw’s stats and accomplishments at such a young age.  If you’re reading this blog you probably know that Kershaw is one of the league’s best. But it is truly amazing what he has done before turning 25.  He’s finished 1st and 2nd place in Cy Young voting the past two years, holds a career 2.79 ERA and strikes out more than 9 per 9 innings over his career.

Justing Verlander just landed the biggest pitching contract yet.  7 years, $180M – average of $25M per.  He’ll be 37 at the end of the contract, which is a danger zone for players as they, if they haven’t already, will likely drop off the cliff.  The Dodgers can sign Kershaw to a ridiculous 10 year deal and he’ll still “only” be 35.  The past two 10 year contracts, Albert Pujols and Jpey Votto averaged $21M and $22.5M respectively.  I’m pretty sure Kershaw will eclipse that.  He has some leverage given his age and his pending free agency.  It would be crazy if the Dodger spent so much on Zack Greinke and somehow let Kershaw walk.  The Dodgers will open the purse strings knowing they will have an anchor to their rotation for years to come barring significant injuries.  Now maybe this isn’t such a bold prediction, but there is a decent chance the Yankees will beat the Dodgers to the $200M mark by inking Robinson Cano to a new deal.

Final Prediction:  10 year, $255M.  Season stats: 21-6 2.42 ERA 1.03 WHIP, 235 K

Funny note:  In researching this article I found that Alex Rodriguez, Johan Santana and Vernon Wells are 3 of the 4 highest paid players in baseball for 2013.  O/U on total games played?  120?  Maybe less.