Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers avoid arbitration with two-year deal worth $19 million

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Rather than letting an arbitrator choose between the reigning Cy Young winner’s $10 million request and the team’s $6.5 million counter, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have agreed to a two-year contract worth $19 million.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Kershaw will get $7.5 million this season, $11 million in 2013, and a $500,000 signing bonus. Had the two sides simply agreed to a midpoint settlement for 2012 he’d have earned $8.25 million.

The signing does not impact his free agency timetable, as Kershaw was already under team control through 2014 via the arbitration process. This simply means the Dodgers are pre-paying for his first two years of arbitration, trading cost certainty for upfront money, and will still be able to go through the arbitration process with him in 2014. And then he’ll be a free agent.

Back when Tim Lincecum was in a similar situation in terms of service time he signed away his first two seasons of arbitration eligibility for $23 million. Lincecum already had two Cy Young awards, as opposed to Kershaw’s one, but the comparison still makes this signing look like a pretty nice move for the Dodgers.