Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has said he isn’t thinking about the clause in his contract which allows him to opt out and become a free agent next fall. It would be unwise for the Dodgers’ front office to take such an approach. The Dodgers’ front office is many things. Unwise is not one of them. “You’re going to get my Belichick on this question,” Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi joked, referencing the notoriously stone-faced, insight-free manner in which the New England Patriots’ head coach treats inquiries from the press. Asked if the Dodgers needed to formulate a plan in case Kershaw decides to become a free agent – and potentially leaves for another team – Zaidi said, “We don’t have to handle it right this moment … not right now.” The possibility of having to outbid other teams to retain Kershaw’s services next offseason was at least one of the motivations behind the Dodgers’ top priority this offseason – getting their payroll below the competitive-balance tax threshold. The Dodgers will now incur much less punitive penalties if they have to cross that threshold in order to re-sign Kershaw next offseason. The Dodgers could also pre-empt that situation by negotiating a new contract extension with Kershaw, replacing or adding to the final two years and $65 million in the seven-year, $215 million extension he signed four years ago. Zaidi would not comment on the potential of that happening or whether there have been any discussions about a new contract. “We’ve had conversations with him. I’m not going to go into detail about it,” he said. “But we have a very open dialogue. He’s our franchise player. So that’s important. “I also know it’s important for him and for us that we don’t share the content of those conversations.” Kershaw will turn 30 10 days before he is expected to make his franchise-record eighth consecutive opening day start for the Dodgers next month. He could potentially join a star-studded free-agent class next winter that could also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon and Andrew Miller.
Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw have ‘open dialogue’ with his opt-out looming
Orange County Register | Feb 21