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Report: Clayton Kershaw nearly signed 7-year, $210M deal before L.A. backed off

(Harry How/Getty Images) Clayton Kershaw's reported contract offer would have given him the highest annual salary in MLB history. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw nearly signed a seven-year, $210-million contract earlier this season that would have given him the highest average salary in MLB history, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting.

The Dodgers "backed off" from the deal and the two sides haven't negotiated in months, Rosenthal reports. But the team remains motivated to sign Kershaw, whose two-year, $19-million contract will expire after this season, when he will become arbitration eligible.

The 25-year-old lefty, who is currently leading the majors with a 1.72 ERA, is eligible to become a free agent after the 2014 season.

LEMIRE: Kershaw making strong case for NL MVP as well as Cy Young

From the report:

The contract Kershaw and the Dodgers discussed would have included an opt-out clause, giving the pitcher the right to become a free agent after five years, sources said.

The average salary of approximately $30 million would have been the highest in baseball history, eclipsing Roger Clemens’ previous high of $28 million on a one-year deal in 2007.

...

The deal also would have been the largest ever for a pitcher, surpassing Justin Verlander’s seven-year, $180 million deal with the Detroit Tigers, and the sixth-highest overall.

In June, Kershaw and the Dodgers reportedly made progress in striking a deal. The pitcher was upset that the Dodgers had leaked the talks between the two sides.
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