Originally posted on Dodgers Rumors  |  Last updated 1/18/12

Say it ain't so! Moments after hearing Loney and Ethier avoided arbitration, I hear from Jon Heyman that Clayton Kershaw filed for $10MM in preparation for his upcoming arbitration hearing. Ready for this? The Dodgers offer, $6.5MM. Say what!? I can not believe this goon we got running the show offered him $6.5MM. You don't low-ball the 2011 Cy Young winner and get away with it son! You man up and show 'em the money. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to go to arbitration with someone like Kershaw.

In 2011 Kershaw made his first All-Star appearance, won the 2011 NL Cy Young Award, won the NL Gold Glove, NL Triple Crown, he led the league in ERA, wins, strikeouts, and pitched over 200 innings for the second consecutive season. Oh I think I forgot to mention this is his first year in arbitration and he will be barely turning 24 this March. So yes this is about to get expensive, very expensive.

You gotta wonder if this adds some bitterness in getting a long-term deal done. I know this is part of the business, but you are talking about the cornerstone of the starting rotation, the staff ace. Is this a mistake? Time will surely tell, Clayton is going to get paid either way, so Clayton ain't worried. Kershaw isn't a free-agent until 2014, so the Dodgers figure they have time. I am thinking offering $8MM would've been a starting point, and wouldn't have left a bitter taste in Clayton's mouth. I'm projecting Kershaw will get somewhere right around $8.5MM when the dust settles after his hearing. So what is that? It's $2MM! Heck,  Colletti wasted a whole lot more than that this winter, priorities, it's so backwards right now it's ridiculous.

I've said it before and I will say it again, the longer the Dodgers wait to lock Clayton up the more expensive it's gonna get. You don't believe me? Tim Lincecum just filed for $21.5MM according to Heyman. So that will certainly help Clayton as he heads to arbitration. Kershaw is just getting started folks, and I see no reason he doesn't continue the trend as the best left-handed pitcher in the game right now. The reality is the Dodgers should be in a very big hurry to lock Kershaw up as affordable and as soon as possible. The long-term deal will provide security to both parties and that's always comforting, but in the end it's all about the mighty dollar, and Kershaw is going to want a lot of them. I still see Kershaw getting at least a six-year $90MM-$100MM from the Dodgers. The new owner is certainly going to have to do some damage control to do on this situation.
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