If 2012 was a down year for Clayton Kershaw, he has a Hall of Fame career ahead of him. Kershaw battled through injury and a team with fluctuating talent around him, and he still posted the lowest ERA in the National League and finished second in Cy Young voting. Now, with the Los Angeles Dodgers spending money freely, the team may look to extend Kershaw.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers' offseason moves may not be limited to trades and free agency.
Colletti: #Dodgers could explore Kershaw extension in coming weeks.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 10, 2012
Kershaw was 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA in 2012. It was a slight step back from his Cy Young performance in 2011. In 2011, Kershaw went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA. Regardless, both of his last two seasons were phenomenal. He managed 33 starts in both of his last two season, and he did so in 2012 while battling an injury. He is an asset that the Dodgers cannot afford to lose...ever.
Kershaw is still arbitration eligible, and he can't become a free agent until 2015. However, the Dodgers know what they have in him. They probably would have extended him sooner had the ownership not been in transition. Now, they will have to pay a lot more than they would have had to pay two years ago. But regardless of the amount, Kershaw is worth it.
In his career, Kershaw is 61-37 with a 2.79 ERA. He is a two-time All-Star, has a Cy Young under his belt, has led the NL in ERA in back-to-back seasons, and won the pitching Triple Crown in 2011. Oh, and he's just 24 years old. A contract extension that keeps Kershaw in Los Angeles for his entire career would be the smartest thing the Dodgers could do this offseason.