Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw reportedly closed off contract talks because he did not want to negotiate such a large deal during the season. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Dodgers offered star pitcher Clayton Kershaw a "lifetime contract" worth about $300 million earlier this season, ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting.
The two sides did not finish negotiations because Kershaw was uncertain about committing to such an "encompassing" deal and about having contract talks during the season, but talks progressed enough that a deal could be finalized this winter, according to the report.
Kershaw, 25, who has led MLB in ERA in each of the past three seasons, is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. He made $11 million in 2013 during the second year of a two-year, $19-million deal, and is entering his final year of arbitration.
From the report:
But the negotiations progressed enough that there is confidence among some with knowledge of the talks that a long-term deal -- perhaps more conservative in length than the massive contract proposed by the Dodgers -- will be concluded this winter, with a significant portion of money being devoted to charity of Kershaw's choosing.
It's expected that Kershaw's forthcoming deal will become the largest ever for a pitcher. Earlier this year, Felix Hernandez agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract with the Mariners, and Justin Verlander agreed to an extension that results in the Detroit Tigers paying him $180 million for the 2013-2019 seasons. CC Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million deal after the 2008 season.
Kershaw was rocked for seven runs in four innings as the Dodgers were eliminated from the postseason in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Friday.