Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/19/13

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t want to part with their ace, and they’re willing to shell out the big bucks to keep Clayton Kershaw in a Dodger uniform. Although the left-hander isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season, the Dodgers would like to avoid that impasse to the tune of a lifetime contract in the $300 million range, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Reportedly, the Dodgers approached Kershaw earlier in the season with the contract, but were never able to finalize the details. The report states that the two sides were unable to finish negotiations because “Kershaw was initially uncertain about committing to a deal so encompassing, and about having contract talks during the season.” If the two sides do come to an agreement, and Olney believes that a long-term deal will be completed during the offseason, Kershaw will become the highest-paid pitcher in baseball. Justin Verlander currently holds that title with a seven-year, $180 million contract, and earlier this season Felix Hernandez inked a  seven-year, $175 million contract with the Mariners. After completing the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox in August 2012, the Dodgers “nearly tripled their payroll in the span of a season,” as Olney points out. The southpaw is projected to win the Cy Young Award again in 2013, marking the second time in three years he’s earned the honor after winning one in 2011 and finishing as the runner-up in 2012. In his six-year career, the 25-year-old has boasted a 2.60 ERA in 1,180 innings and has led the league in ERA for the past three years. Filed under: Anna Fogel, Headlines, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

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