The Absurd Price that Clayton Kershaw is Actually Worth

Over the last few years, a common thought experiment among nerdy baseball fans has been to imagine what Mike Trout would sign for if he was a free agent. He was the best player in baseball before he could legally drink, and if the market had to price a player of his ability and youth, $400 million wouldn’t be out of the question. You could even make a case for $500 million if the contract was long enough. But it was all just fun mental gymnastics, a hypothetical that didn’t exist in reality.

However, Mike Trout isn’t the only historically special player currently dominating the big leagues. Clayton Kershaw has also put up numbers that few his age have ever matched, and since he’s only a year from reaching free agent status, we’re about to find out just what the market will pay for a young superstar on a Hall of Fame track.

For reference, here is the full list of pitchers in the last 50 years who could reasonably be compared to Kershaw through this same point in their careers.

Name IP ERA- FIP- WAR RA9-WAR WAR/200 RA9/200
Roger Clemens 1,029 71 63 33 30 6 6
Clayton Kershaw 1,177 68 75 28 34 5 6
Tom Seaver 1,092 72 84 25 32 5 6
Kevin Appier 837 71 76 21 24 5 6
Pedro Martinez 810 74 73 21 21 5 5
Bert Blyleven 1,745 76 70 46 43 5 5
Bret Saberhagen 1,262 79 76 32 31 5 5

That’s every pitcher since 1964 who has thrown at least 800 innings through age-25 and averaged +5 WAR (rounded up, so it’s really +4.6 or higher) per full season, both by FIP and runs allowed. Only six other pitchers in 50 years have done this; two of them are in the Hall of Fame, one will be next year, and one would be if it weren’t for his links to PED usage. When 2/3 of your performance peers ended up as all time greats, you’re in okay company. The median performance of those other six from their age-26 season through the end of their careers: another 2,500 innings, +61 WAR by FIP, and +60 WAR by runs allowed.

Name IP ERA- FIP- WAR RA9-WAR WAR/200 RA9/200
Pedro Martinez 1,915 64 63 65 65 7 7
Tom Seaver 3,690 81 85 73 88 4 5
Roger Clemens 3,885 70 72 107 112 6 6
Bret Saberhagen 1,233 82 81 27 28 4 5
Bert Blyleven 3,061 90 88 56 55 4 4
Kevin Appier 1,733 88 90 32 34 4 4
Median 2,488 82 83 61 60 4 5

The guys who got worse regressed all the way to Perennial All-Star, averaging about +4 WAR per season after their historic start. Appier and Saberhagen are the health risk examples — sorry, Royals fans — while Blyleven is the performance regression risk, as he went from being otherworldly to just very good. But again, these are the downside examples, and they’re still really pretty great. Appier was an ace for another four years before injuries began to eat away at him, and Saberhagen was regularly dominant when he was healthy enough to take the mound. It’s important to remember that when we talk about health risks for pitchers, this is the kind of health risk we’re most often talking about. The career ending injuries that drive guys like Brandon Webb out of the sport at an early age are not normal.

Yes, pitchers are risky, but Kershaw can fall a long way and still be tremendously valuable. And if he stays healthy for the better part of the next decade, he’ll probably go down as the best pitcher of his generation. If it’s an exaggeration to say that Clayton Kershaw is the Mike Trout of pitchers, it isn’t much of one. Justin Verlander is awesome. Felix Hernandez is special. Stephen Strasburg and Jose Fernandez and Chris Sale all look like they could be remarkable. None of them are Clayton Kershaw, and that’s why the Dodgers are going to open up the vault to keep him in Los Angeles.

So, what’s the price going to be? I think we can basically rule out anything less than $200 million, as Kershaw isn’t going to settle for a contract anywhere near what the Tigers and Mariners gave to Verlander and Hernandez last spring. Not only is Kershaw both younger and better than both, but he’s also only one year away from free agency as opposed to two years away. The 7/$175M template isn’t going to get it done here.

On the other hand, I don’t think we’re going to see either the Dodgers or Kershaw push the total value upwards by going for a 10 year deal at a deflated AAV, as has become the norm for the big contracts in recent years. From Kershaw’s perspective, a seven or eight year deal actually sets him up for a potential second massive contract in a way that a 10 year deal would not, as he could potentially hit free agency again in his early-30s instead of his mid-30s. And while the Dodgers have been aggressive in spending money under their current ownership group, their spending has come in salary, not in years, as their longest commitment to any player has been six years. While many teams have lured players by borrowing from their 2021 budgets, the Dodgers have mostly stuck to five and six year contracts at heightened annual average values.

So, let’s say that both sides agree that they want a seven year contract, which would include the 2014 season that the Dodgers already control at an expected arbitration price of around $20 million. They’d essentially be buying six free agent years, and since it wouldn’t be as long of a contract as many of the other free agent signings we’ve seen lately, the annual salary would have to be higher. Given Kershaw’s performance level and the shorter term, I think you’d have to expect an annual average value of at least $30 million, and that’s probably too light.

Looking at the median performance of the six Kershaw comparisons identified above, we see that the median performance of that group from age-26 through age-32 was +35 WAR (both by FIP and RA9), for an average of +5 WAR per season. Here’s an example of what that kind of forecast would look like for Kershaw, given what we think we know about the market right now:

Year WAR $/WAR Value
2014 5.5 $6.0 $33.0
2015 5.5 $6.3 $34.7
2016 5.0 $6.6 $33.1
2017 5.0 $6.9 $34.7
2018 5.0 $7.3 $36.5
2019 4.5 $7.7 $34.5
2020 4.5 $8.0 $36.2
Total 35.0   $242.6

Based on this kind of expected performance, Kershaw’s market value on a seven year deal would put him around $243 million over seven years. Of course, the Dodgers already control 2014 for $20 million, so what we really care about is the market value of those additional six years, which comes out to $210 milion. If both sides agreed to just give Kershaw market value price a year before he reached free agency in exchange for not requiring a longer commitment, and then they just priced in the $20 million that Kershaw was going to get for 2014 if they didn’t sign this deal, then the total value would come in around 7/$230M, or about $33 million per year.

And that seems about right to me. It makes him the highest paid player in baseball history in terms of AAV, and the highest paid pitcher of all time by a mile. It gives him clear separation over the extensions signed by Hernandez and Verlander last spring, and it still lets him hit free agency again after his age-32 season, when he could potentially be in line for another $200+ million deal.

The more years that get tacked on, the lower the Dodgers would want the AAV to be in order to even out the risk, so if we’re looking at 7/$230M as a decent price for this term, maybe an equivalent longer deal would be 8/$250M, or right around the price that has been rumored over the last 24 hours. I think something in this range is probably what we should expect, and what Kershaw is likely to be worth.

Crazy long deals for pitchers have historically not worked out well, but historically, they haven’t been given to pitchers that are this good or this young. Kershaw’s contract is going to break all kinds of records and probably still not be insane. This is the kind of long term, crazy money contract that could easily work out for both sides.

And about a half hour after publication, news breaks that the Dodgers have signed Kershaw to a seven year, $215 million extension that contains a player opt-out after year five. So, essentially, Kershaw traded a few million in AAV to get the chance to become a free agent after age-30 instead of age-32. Barring a severe injury, we should expect he’ll opt out.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Chris Carruthers
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

I don’t agree with calling Kershaw the best of the current bunch yet. Fernandez, Sale, Strasburg, and Harvey are right there too. I’d even throw in Bumgarner.

grundlock_3rd
Member
2 years 7 months ago

are you indicating that kershaw is worse than those pitchers, or those pitchers are on kershaw’s level?

i’m just curious.

Chris Carruthers
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

I’m saying it’s not clear cut.

grundlock_3rd
Member
2 years 7 months ago

ok – well i’d be hard pressed to agree with that, but to each their own.

40/40club
Member
40/40club
2 years 7 months ago

I don’t know why this comment got so many thumbs downs. I agree with Chris that it would be very difficult to distinguish between the performance of Kershaw and the other elite pitchers (King Felix, Verlander, etc).

However, the difference is really that Kershaw is hitting free agency at such a young age and hence can be expected to not decline till farther in the future. If Verlander were a few years younger, then it would be a more even comparison, yet Verlander will be close to being out of baseball by the time Kershaw signs his second contract.

Age is the real difference here, not skill or level of performance

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

It’s really not hard to differentiate. Kershaw is much younger than Verlander and Felix, and better than either.

For reference, Verlander didn’t have a 5 win season (by any standard) until he was 26, as old as Kershaw is going to be this year. Kershaw hasn’t had a season below 5 fWAR since he was 22, and hasn’t had a season below 5 bWAR since he was 21.

King Felix hasn’t had a 6 rWAR season since 2010. Kershaw hasn’t had a sub-6 rWAR season since 2010.

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49
2 years 7 months ago

Nobody is saying that Kershaw was worse in his ages 20-25 seasons or that he’s not most fitting for this contract. We’re saying that right now, i.e. 2014, Kershaw is Verlander and Hernandez’s equal.

Over the past five years, both Verlander and Hernandez have outperformed Kershaw and are near equals over the past four, three, two and one seasons, by fWAR (and any other reliably value metric). Steamer has Verlander and Hernandez as better in 2014.

Additionally, in the future we can’t really expect Kershaw to outperform Sale, Fernandez, Strasburg, etc.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

We have a 4 year sample size, so I have no idea why you keep using fWAR.

Since 2010, Kershaw has been worth 26 rWAR. Felix has been worth 21 rWAR and Verlander has been worth 25 rWAr.

Since 2011, Kershaw has been worth 21 rWAR. Felix has been worth 14 rWAR and Verlander has been worth 21 rWAR.

Since 2012, Kershaw has been worth 14 rWAR. Felix has been worth 10 rWAR and Verlander has been worth 12 rWAR.

Kershaw is a little better than Verlander and much younger than he.
Kershaw is a little younger than Felix and much better than he.

It’s a fact.

Chris Carruthers
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

I said yet! We need to see a little more of these other guys and chances are one will overtake Kershaw.

Felix Hernandez and Stephen Strasburg have better xFIPs over the past 2 years. Kershaw is 5th in baseball over that time.

He’s third over the past 3 years (Strasburg still better).

7th over past 4 years (Strasburg, Sale, and Hernandez better)

14th over the past 5 years.

He was also 6th last year!

I will give him the 3 DRS season credit though.

You would expect a clear cut top arm in baseball to at least be 1st or second in a time period like that in xFIP.

Here are my projections I have done:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiKIdMktKhYNdElkcl9tOC1DY05ZZVN1cDg5c0dKR0E&usp=sharing#gid=0

Kershaw 2nd in RA9 WAR behind Sale.

Link to article:

http://www.breakingblue.ca/2014/01/04/2014-breaking-blue-pitcher-projections/

Chris Carruthers
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

I’d also like to point out Steamer has Kershaw 11th in WAR next year. We need to stop using past actual results (ERA, FIP, or WAR) as a proxy for talent. Projections give us a much better idea of actual skill.

Chris Carruthers
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

That’s 11th in pitchers. Darvish, Hernandez, Sale, Strasburg are all ahead of him by Steamer.

Along with a little older Scherzer, Sanchez, Verlander, Lee, and Price.

jim
Guest
jim
2 years 7 months ago

kershaw’s career ERA over 1180 IP is .7 R/9 lower than his xFIP, .28 R/9 lower than his FIP, and .77 R/9 lower than his SIERA. if we can’t say for certainty that he can be expected to outperform those, we’re pretty close.

Blount
Guest
Blount
2 years 7 months ago

Does trolling the internet make you feel like you have friends? Or is it solely for the attention? The dynamic has always confused me. Obvious troll is obvious with the Steamer comment.

Chris Carruthers
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

How am I trolling?

To the ERA comment. That’s because of Dodger Stadium and HR/FB luck. The difference from FIP is explainable with Kershaw’s DRS. The ERA to FIP difference is true.

jim
Guest
jim
2 years 7 months ago

“HR/FB luck and dodger stadium”

his career road HR/FB is 7.1%, and was actually lower on the road in 2013. i thought after matt cain we were ready to accept that some pitchers have actual skill at maintaining a deflated HR/FB, but i guess not. to reiterate the point from my other comment, if after 1180 IP something in his results isn’t certain, it’s pretty close.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

That’s because of Dodger Stadium and HR/FB luck.

Dodgers team HR/FB since 2009: 8.8%
Kershaw HR/FB since 2009: 6.2%

So he is probably helped by Dodger stadium, but there’s a lot more to explain there too. Why is it that Verlander can post a HR/FB rate consistently below his team average and no one thinks he’s the beneficiary of some good luck?

The difference from FIP is explainable with Kershaw’s DRS. The ERA to FIP difference is true.

What DRS? You mean the Dodgers team defense? Anyway, here’s another comparison:

Dodgers team BABIP since 2009: .284
Kershaw BABIP since 2009: .264

Again, he’s helped by his park and team, but obviously he has more things going for him that just that.

As for luck, well, it can never be ruled out, but the chances of being 2.6 HR/FB points and 20 BABIP points better than one’s team over a sample of 1000 innings by pure luck are minuscule. The overwhelming likelihood is that his true BABIP and HR/FB are a good deal better than average.

here goes nothing
Guest
here goes nothing
2 years 7 months ago

“I’d also like to point out Steamer has Kershaw 11th in WAR next year. We need to stop using past actual results (ERA, FIP, or WAR) as a proxy for talent. Projections give us a much better idea of actual skill.”

Errrrr what inputs are you possibly using to make your projections other than ‘past actual results’?

soccrtiger13
Member
soccrtiger13
2 years 7 months ago

How come nobody has pointed out that Chris Sale wasn’t even a starter until 2 years ago. You can’t include his 4 year XFIP in an argument of who are the top starting pitchers in baseball unless you are going to also include Aroldis Chapman who may start someday.

Liga del Arbusto
Guest
Liga del Arbusto
2 years 7 months ago

HAHAHAHAHA

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49
2 years 7 months ago

Why is it so obvious that Kershaw is better than Verlander, Hernandez, et al? The evidence clearly points to the contrary.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

The guy doesn’t mention Felix.

Hernandez =/= Fernandez

a more attentive reader
Guest
a more attentive reader
2 years 7 months ago

in fact, bluejays49, the evidence points to Kershaw, Verlander, and Hernandez as being basically equal, and Cliff Lee being better than all of them.

Then, of course, factor in their birthdates, and it’s pretty clear Kershaw is the guy.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2013&month=0&season1=2008&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=3,d

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

What evidence? Since 2010, Kershaw leads all qualified starters with an ERA- of 64. The next best is Chris Sale’s 71.

Cliff Lee’s 70 FIP- slightly beats out Kershaw’s 73, but I’ll take Kershaw’s 30 extra innings and 9 point difference in ERA-, not to mention the nine year age difference.

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49
2 years 7 months ago

Above you used fWAR, here you use ERA-… which is it? You can’t pick and choose the stat you use to fit your narrative. That’s not how analysis works.

Kershaw has 5.725 more innings per year than Lee over the past four (although less fWAR), but that lead evaporates when you expand the time to five or six years. Kershaw’s single season innings capacity is no greater than Lee’s. I would say they’re about equal in terms of performance expectation for 2014.

The nine year age difference isn’t relevant in this conversation since I’m not saying that Lee deserves Kershaw’s contract more than Kershaw. In fact, nobody is saying that.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

You got me! When you expand the timeline to when Kershaw was on an innings limit and Lee wasn’t, Lee has more innings pitched!

Whodathunkit?!

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49
2 years 7 months ago

Kershaw was not on an innings cap in 2009. He was merely inefficient.

The point was more about Lee. He has averaged 222 innings since becoming good in 2008. Workload arguments against him are invalid.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

Oh, so the reason he usually pitched on 5 or 6 days rest and only had 2 starts in September that year was that he was “inefficient”?

Someone less omniscient than you might think that the Dodgers were limiting the workload of their 21 year old stud.

Lee’s an awesome, awesome pitcher, but there’s no reasonable way to expect them to be similar going forward when the last time Lee hasn’t been close to Kershaw in run prevention since 2011.

Since then, Kershaw has gotten better and Lee has gotten worse.

E
Guest
E
2 years 7 months ago

Nice Try.

Ben
Guest
Ben
2 years 7 months ago

And they’ve collectively thrown as many innings as Kershaw.

narvane92
Member
narvane92
2 years 7 months ago

Felix has thrown about 700 more innings than Kershaw

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

The guy doesn’t mention Felix.

Hernandez =/= Fernandez

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 7 months ago

Bip, I’m pretty sure pitchers who play for Miami don’t really exist. You can’t expect people to have heard of them, no matter how good they are. No one pays attention to RoY anyway. ;)

Tim A
Guest
Tim A
2 years 7 months ago

Deal done, 7/215 with an opt out at 5. I like it for both team and player, he gets FA at 30, the team gets him thru his prime with no decline unless they re-up later.

Tim A
Guest
Tim A
2 years 7 months ago

If only you posted this a few hours earlier Dave, his reps would have known what to ask for, and gotten him more.

snydeq
Guest
snydeq
2 years 7 months ago

Or, they believe the opt-out clause at 30 after five years is worth taking the $15 million less.

Art Vandelay
Guest
Art Vandelay
2 years 7 months ago

Kershaw already has six good seasons under his belt. At least two more than anyone else on your list.

narvane92
Member
narvane92
2 years 7 months ago

I would check Felix’s career, I would say he has 6 good seasons under his belt.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

The guy doesn’t mention Felix.

Hernandez =/= Fernandez

a more attentive reader
Guest
a more attentive reader
2 years 7 months ago

Felix wasn’t one of the pitchers Chris mentioned…

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

Felix wasn’t on the list (Chris’ up top) in question. That list consisted of Strasburg, Sale, Fernandez, Harvey and Bumgarner in which case Art is absolutely right.

The Humber Games
Guest
The Humber Games
2 years 7 months ago

You forgot to mention Bruce Chen as well

samuelraphael
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

Bravo, good sir.

Dayton Moore
Guest
Dayton Moore
2 years 7 months ago

I don’t know about all your newfangled statistics, but I don’t agree with calling Kershaw the best between him and Chen yet. After all, they’re both lefties, they’re both veterans, and as hard as I squint, I just can’t seem to tell the two apart.

Guess it’s just one of life’s mysteries. In other news, I just signed Bruce Chen to a $215m, 7 year contract. It was hard to work into our payroll, but we just thought that it was a once-in-a-generation opportunity we could not pass up.

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

Being as good as Kershaw is the absolute best case scenario for all of those guys because it’s a near impossible task to actually be better than Kershaw. This is coming from a Mets fan who adores Harvey by the way.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

Harvey is a good example of why the original post is bogus. Harvey, based on last season, has the best chance of anyone the OP mentioned of becoming the best pitcher in the game on a per inning basis, but I don’t need to tell anyone what happened to him.

Not only is Kershaw the best per-inning starter in the game – once you give him even a little credit for consistently beating his peripherals – but he is also one of the most durable starters in the games, throwing the 3rd most innings since 2011. With pitching, making your 30 starts is half the battle, and it’s a battle that Kershaw has survived for his whole career. It’s what sets him apart from guys like Harvey, who rival his effectiveness when on the mound.

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 7 months ago

Harvey and Kershaw had similar numbers for most of the season. Harvey’s just about a year younger than Kershaw and Kershaw’s pitched about a thousand more innings at the Major League level already. That’s insane.

There really is no argument that any starting pitcher in baseball is better than Kershaw right now.

James
Guest
James
2 years 7 months ago

In a related story, Clayton Kershaw has just purchased the Miami Marlins.

M. Scott Eiland
Guest
M. Scott Eiland
2 years 7 months ago

What’s he going to do with the rest of his weekly check? :-)

David
Guest
David
2 years 7 months ago

What dispensary do you use? I’m jealous.

jim
Guest
jim
2 years 7 months ago

did you even read the article

George Springer
Guest
George Springer
2 years 7 months ago

What the hell is with the down votes? Sorry bro, guess you can’t ever deviate from the cultist “truth”.

Kershaw is the best pitcher IMO. But that’s just it. IMO, based on the stats I like to use. But he doesn’t trade out as number 1 across all methods and there are error bars, therefore it’s not an empirical fact. Everyone else gives their opinions.

Why slaughter Chris for giving his, just because it’s not the same as yours?

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

I agree, I would only downvote a post because of its attitude or due to a flagrant disregard of all reason and facts. I don’t think the OP was particularly well thought out, but it wasn’t an insult or a joke.

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

I think it was the guys he named. He clearly wasn’t arguing best pitcher because he didn’t name JV, Felix, Lee, or Price among others even though his list comprised of the guys he considered the “best of the bunch”. So I guess he was going best young ace. Not sure how you quantify that but all the guys he mentioned are around Kershaw’s age or younger. All that said, it’s pretty silly to suggest that, using only pitching skill as the barometer, and completely disregarding contracts or service time or anything else for that matter, that Kershaw isn’t better, right now at least, than everyone on his list.

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49
2 years 7 months ago

Even Fangraphs’ signature stats (FIP and fWAR) point to Verlander and Hernandez being equal or better over the past two, three, four, …, seasons. And the best public projection system out so far (and one Dave Cameron has referenced countless times), Steamer, has both Verlander and Hernandez as superior in 2014.

The only thing Kershaw has on those two is age. He is not the better pitcher.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

Steamer completely throws out BABIP, HR/FB and LOB%, all of which a pitcher has some control over, however much that is. Doing that deprives both Kershaw and Verlander of a large source of their value over their careers.

FIP and fWAR are fangraph’s signature stats, but Dave and anyone else at fangraphs will readily acknowledge that it is not ideal to throw out variation in the above fields, and that FIP and fWAR do not provide the complete picture of the value a pitcher is able to provide.

Paul Sorrento
Guest
Paul Sorrento
2 years 7 months ago

Actually I believe that there is FG research showing that after a certain number of innings a pitcher’s established ERA is more predicative of future ERA than the projection stats due to as yet non-statistically quantified skill. Therefore using the signature prediction model stats as Kershaw’s projected 50% production with up/down variance is not the best predictive model and would actually represent a down performance. I am not vigilant enough to find the article that discusses this, however.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

You do understand that after a 1000 inning sample size, bWAR and RA9 is a better indicator of performance, right?

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 7 months ago

No bro. It’s been shown that certain pitchers either outperform or underperform their peripherals. fWAR/FIP underreport Kershaw’s greatness because they assume he really should be allowing balls in play at a higher rate. Considering the sample size and looking at other Dodgers’ starters (same defense, obv.), Kershaw’s doing something unique.

Kershaw is clearly the best overall starting pitcher in baseball right now and has been the best starting pitcher in the game over the past three years.

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown
2 years 7 months ago

What about H/9? It’s not implemented anywhere on fangraphs, but it’s clear there are some pitchers that are better at not allowing hits than others.

Clayton Kershaw is 3rd ALL-TIME in H/9 allowed at 6.83.
Verlander is at 7.95 (107th all-time).
Felix is at 8.23 (204th all-time).
Cliff Lee is 8.74 (475th all-time).
Chris Sale is at 7.5 (doesn’t qualify for the all-time list yet).
Strasburg is at 7.1 (doesn’t qualify for the all-time list yet).
Fernandez is at 5.8 in 172 innings. That’s a beastly season number though.
Matt Harvey is at 6.7 in 237 innings.

The unsung skill from Kershaw is his ability not to allow hits. There is an element of luck involved with any hit ball, but look at the different between the pitchers listed here. The only ones that are close to Kershaw or better do not come anywhere near the innings requirement to qualify for the all-time lists on bbref (1000 innings), though they have shown the ability to limit hits themselves quite well.

Add in this statistic on top of the stuff that Fangraphs has, and Kershaw is very much at the top of the mountain when it comes to MLB Starters right now and likely for the foreseeable future.

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 7 months ago

It’s a little unfair. Clearly the OP wasn’t trolling, but they posted a pretty weak argument at the very top of a very popular article.

Also kind of sidetracked the conversation.

Zack
Guest
Zack
2 years 7 months ago

I don’t understand the consensus in the sabermetric community that Clayton Kershaw is the undisputed best pitcher in baseball. The 61 downvotes for the comment by Chris Carruthers is an example of the shouting down that I see all the time when anyone dares to dispute it. He’s great but he’s been comparable to Verlander, Felix, Cliff Lee, and others. Even last year, he barely edged out a few pitchers in WAR and had the 6th-best xFIP in MLB. Why are sabermetrically-inclined writers now touting ERA-based stats and RA9-WAR? He had a .251 BABIP last year and pitches in Dodger Stadium in the NL. Don’t ignore the stats that account for those things.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
2 years 7 months ago

What about era-? As many others have stated, after a certain number of innings, FIP isn’t as predictive as era- and in that regard there isn’t really any disputing Kershaw has been the best in baseball. Over the past 4 years Kershaw has put up an era- of 65. Verlander and Felix Hernandez clocked in at 72.

Isn’t controlling the running game another way a pitcher can outperform FIP? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the fact that Kershaw also has one of the highest lob% be one of the reasons why his era is consistently better than his fip? And wouldn’t the fact that he is one of the best pitchers in baseball at controlling the running game have a positive effect on his lob%? These aren’t rhetorical questions, I’m genuinely curious if this has been researched at all.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

Did Chris Carruthers mention Verlander, Felix or Cliff Lee?

No?

So I guess your comment has nothing to do with why 71 people now agree that Carruthers is wildly misinformed, if not unintelligent.

Boxy
Guest
Boxy
2 years 7 months ago

How many projection systems have you come up with? Maybe lay off the snark, keyboard warrior.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

Stupid shit is stupid shit, regardless of who said it.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

You, for example, may be a Rhodes Scholar for all I know, but that doesn’t change the fact that “You’ve never created an X, so you can’t criticize this X” is an exceptionally idiotic retort, no matter what “X” may be.

Boxy
Guest
Boxy
2 years 7 months ago

“71 people now agree that Carruthers is wildly misinformed, if not unintelligent.”

Calling someone unintelligent is just a little bit different from disagreement in the world I live in. I don’t take any issue with disagreement, obviously. To say that he’s flat out wrong that there are comparable pitchers to Kershaw is pretty hilarious. I don’t care to continue on, but I guess you needed to understand your own post.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

I wasn’t calling him unintelligent. I was saying that he was wildly misinformed, because we know that he’s not unintelligent.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

Also, there really aren’t any comparable pitchers to Kershaw. Two pitchers (Lee and Verlander) have had comparable performances to Kershaw over the last couple of years, but each is both older than he and trending the wrong way.

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 7 months ago

He had a .251 BABIP last year…and he’s shown that his expected BABIP should be around .260 or so. That’s still better than pretty much everyone else. Over the past 5 seasons (FIVE SEASONS), his highest BABIP was .275. He’s clearly doing something repeatable.

Baseball writers are touting ERA-based stats and RA9 stats (much as they did with RA Dickey) because Clayton Kershaw outperforms in areas that FIP/xFIP/fWAR “control” for, BABIP specifically.

Let’s not forget that the guy led the league in ERA three consecutive seasons. That’s a big deal. His ERA in 2013 was 1.83 over 236 innings (obviously the best in baseball). His ERA over the past three seasons, 2011-2013 is 2.21 over 697 innings. This isn’t a fluke we’re talking about, and the simple fact is that the most commonly used “SABR” stats underrate him.

ljc
Guest
ljc
2 years 7 months ago

Note that Dave says “he’ll probably go down as the best pitcher of his generation.” Seems like Dave sort of agrees with you on this point.

Mojowo11
Guest
Mojowo11
2 years 7 months ago

Since the live ball ERA started in 1920, no starting pitcher with at least 500 IP has an ERA as low as Clayton Kershaw’s.

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 7 months ago

Kershaw is a lot like a lefty Blyleven, only without the insane overuse (325 IP as a 22 year old??!?)

All the Dodgers need to do is buy some injury insurance on him, and the $30M per year will be a bargain. Cause even if he gets hurt, he’ll still be a damn great pitcher when healthy (like Saberhagen was)

Michael
Guest
Michael
2 years 7 months ago

I’m not sure I get why Kershaw is so much better than Verlander in your mind. Yes he is younger, but Verlander has been producing at absurd levels ever since 2009, outproducing Kershaw.

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

Yeah I agree. If this was written a year ago, I doubt anyone would say Kershaw was “clearly” better than JV. In fact it’s probably the opposite as JV was pretty universally recognized as the best pitcher in all of baseball. That’s not to say 2013 should be thrown out. Kershaw was as good as ever and Verlander took a step back, no doubt. That said, his body of work is better and longer than Kershaw’s at this point. Plus, Verlander was a monster in his last seven or eight starts which lends credence to Verlander’s claim that his mechanics were off and that he eventually fixed the problem. Also let’s not forget that Harvey was right there with him in the Cy Young race until he got hurt.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

JV was definitely the consensus “best in baseball” starting in mid 2011 through 2012, and in 2013 it began to shift to Kershaw. I think that involves a bit of projection on the part of the people who make those narratives, because of the two of them, Kershaw is more likely to improve and less likely to decline.

Art Vandelay
Guest
Art Vandelay
2 years 7 months ago

Verlander(2009-2013): 1172IP 140ERA+ 3.66K/BB 30.7bWAR
Kershaw(2009-2013): 1072IP 155ERA+ 3.24K/BB 30.8bWAR
Damn close, but you can’t discount the fact that Verlander is five years older than Kershaw.

Alan
Guest
Alan
2 years 7 months ago

The Kershaw/Verlander discussion is just odd to me. Do people really think that Verlander is likely to outproduce Kershaw over the next seven years?

A Commenter
Guest
A Commenter
2 years 7 months ago

That’s not the discussion, it’s whether Kershaw is “clearly better” than Verlander, and whether or not anyone would have said that a year ago.

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

Well nobody is really saying that. Because of the age disparity, it’s obvious why Kershaw figures to out produce JV over the next 7 years.What we are arguing is whether Kershaw is better RIGHT NOW. Two quotes from the article:

“Justin Verlander is awesome. Felix Hernandez is special. Stephen Strasburg and Jose Fernandez and Chris Sale all look like they could be remarkable. None of them are Clayton Kershaw, and that’s why the Dodgers are going to open up the vault to keep him in Los Angeles.”

And the second quote, referring to JV and King Felix:

“Not only is Kershaw both younger and better than both, but he’s also only one year away from free agency as opposed to two years away. The 7/$175M template isn’t going to get it done here.”

These quotes are the root of what I and, ostensibly, Michael the original poster, are debating. Is Kershaw better right now? Maybe, but DC is making it look more clear cut than I think it is. As Art Van delay showed, it’s awfully close.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

It absolutely is the discussion. If we’re talking about a contract, we’re talking about expected production going forward. Reasonable people cannot disagree over whether Kershaw and Verlander should be expected to produce similar value going forward.

If you prefer Verlander to Kershaw over the next 5 years, you are incorrect.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 7 months ago

It might be a bit of nit-picking, but I think when you use the phrase “younger and better,” the “better” part does not seem to incorporate the fact that he’s younger (it is a reference to skill level, not value or projected future value). To say that Kershaw is “better” is at least arguable.

You can disagree over one comment without being forced into the position of disagreeing with the conclusion or main point. You’re trying to put words in people’s mouths.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

In my opinion, I still consider the two of them to be the best pitchers in the game, but Kershaw’s career to this point has been historic, as Dave pointed out, while Verlander’s has been merely elite. It lends to this idea that Kershaw is the greatest pitcher in the game, because his career trajectory places him among the greatest of all time.

It also doesn’t hurt a player’s narrative when he puts up a sub-2 ERA and places 1-2-1 in Cy Young voting the last three years.

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 7 months ago

And as happy as I was as a Mets fan to see Dickey win his Cy, I would have understood had Kershaw won it. His numbers were very, very, very good.

Goat Fondler
Guest
Goat Fondler
2 years 7 months ago

Kershaw is more consistent. Since his sophomore season he has never had a bWAR or fWAR of less than 4 in a season and his ERAs, WHIPs, and K/BB have more or less steadily improved each season. Verlander’s 2008 season is about the only off year he’s had, but that’s one more than Kershaw. Also, Verlander’s ERAs, WHIPS, and K/BB have been a tad less consistent than Kershaw’s.

bawfuls
Guest
bawfuls
2 years 7 months ago

Additionally, Verlander took a step back in performance this year while Kershaw took a step forward.

grundlock_3rd
Member
2 years 7 months ago

i can already tell this comment section is going to get out of hand.

Ron Burgandy
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

Boy. That escalated quickly. I mean, it really go out of hand… fast.

drewggy
Member
drewggy
2 years 7 months ago

Shouldn’t the sample size be ALL pitchers who’ve accumulated “800 innings and averaged +5 WAR per full season” and not just those under 26? You’ve said quite often in the past that age matters much less for pitchers.

Derek Brink
Guest
Derek Brink
2 years 7 months ago

Kershaw is better than those guys because he’s great every single season. There are no down seasons. Btw how has Verlander outproduced Kershaw?

NYHB
Guest
NYHB
2 years 7 months ago

Because 2009-2012 happened.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

When Kershaw had a lower ERA- over his age 21-24 seasons than Verlander did over his age 26-29 seasons?

NYHB
Guest
NYHB
2 years 7 months ago

A win is a win is a win.

Schlom
Guest
Schlom
2 years 7 months ago

Why isn’t Dwight Gooden on the list of 25 and under pitchers? He meets all three criteria.

grundlock_3rd
Member
2 years 7 months ago

dwight’s ’87 season fell below the 4.6+ WAR, which is the season he would have passed the required 800 IP

Schlom
Guest
Schlom
2 years 7 months ago

I misread it, I thought it was an overall average of 4.6 per season, not at least 4.6 every season.

Ray
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

@ramonashelburne: The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have agreed on a seven year, $215 million contract, sources have told ESPN. Out after five

grundlock_3rd
Member
2 years 7 months ago

so 5 years … love baseball contracts nowadays.

Deelron
Member
Deelron
2 years 7 months ago

Which makes it very much in the ballpark of 7/230, no out.

Anon
Guest
ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 7 months ago

It’s almost as if Dave has some insights as to how front offices actually value players!

Jon Dan
Guest
Jon Dan
2 years 7 months ago

All of this sounds team friendly to me. If I was his agent I’d try to convey his increased value in the playoffs (starting every 2nd, 3rd or 4th game, depending on scheduling and potentially waiting on other series) and the new sudden death wild card game gives increased value to an ace compared to everyone else (though it’s nowhere near guaranteed he would be available for the sudden death game, it is possible).

AND if the dodgers get schedules like they have this year, Kershaw can consistently grab 1 more start then other pitchers.

I’m sure the dodgers are a little cocky, and thinking a lot about playoff success. I would try to use that to my advantage and I believe Kershaw’s value increase come October is much higher than that of position players, other pitchers, and even most Aces.

Some mondo holes in this logic, but titles are cool.

White Blood Cells
Guest
White Blood Cells
2 years 7 months ago

10/215

White Blood Cells
Guest
White Blood Cells
2 years 7 months ago

Er, make that a 7.

Tim A
Guest
Tim A
2 years 7 months ago

The first A-rod deal incidentally which was signed at a similar age was worth its price in return value, even with the cost of wins lower. I would hope that is the only comparable between these two since I like Kershaw and what he does. Still the Arod deal would look comparable to this since it was 7 with the opt out. Slight bump in inflation, and even with the higher risk to pitchers, in my opinion a better horse to bet on then the original model.

CH Smoot
Guest
CH Smoot
2 years 7 months ago

“A 7-year, 9-figure deal for left-handed pitchers is always a good investment.” – Barry Zito

CC Sabathia
Guest
CC Sabathia
2 years 7 months ago

I agree.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

So do I. 22 bWAR (25 fWAR) over 5 years is absolutely worth CC’s initial contract.

Goat Fondler
Guest
Goat Fondler
2 years 7 months ago

It’s incredible how much better of a pitcher Kershaw is compared to Zito

CH Smoot
Guest
CH Smoot
2 years 7 months ago

Zito WAR over 7 years prior to signing big contract = 31
Zito WAR over 7 years after signing big contract = 3

Kershaw WAR over 6 years prior to signing big contract = 32
Kershaw WAR over 7 years after signing big contract = ???

BearHunter90
Guest
BearHunter90
2 years 7 months ago

Now do one for the previous 3 years before the deal. I expect you will see a bigger difference.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 7 months ago

So you agree that it’s incredible how much better of a pitcher Kershaw is compared to Zito.

I mean, that’s what the stats you just quoted say.

Shawn Marcum
Guest
Shawn Marcum
2 years 7 months ago

why won’t anyone pay me?

Rodney Dangerfield
Guest
Rodney Dangerfield
2 years 7 months ago

Cause you’re always drinking all the beer in the clubhouse Shawn. Jerk.

CH Smoot
Guest
CH Smoot
2 years 7 months ago

Plus there’s that whole “u” instead of a “w” in “Shaun” thing:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/marcush01.shtml

Steven
Guest
Steven
2 years 7 months ago

I’d love to hear some more on Kershaw’s ability to outperform his FIP. Clearly, he has shown a sustainable skill in that area, but his babip of .251 is a career low for him compared to his .274 mark for the rest of his career. Combined with the exceptional defense the Dodgers received last year, I think he may be due for some regression towards his career mark. Even with that regression, though, he is still the best pitcher in baseball.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

He probably won’t sustain that .251, but even his worst BABIP and HR/FB rate since 2009 is well better than average. I would like to see that too.

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 7 months ago

Well, yeah – the 1.83 ERA that resulted from that is pretty insane. However, his career mark is .270, not .274, he hasn’t put up a BABIP higher than .275 since he joined the rotation full-time (.269 his first full season), and in addition to all of that, he’s got a solid pickoff move. All that put together means that I’d expect him to continue in that mid .260s range.

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

Well done Dave, you basically nailed the years and total value. Though let’s be real, with opt out clause, it’s essentially a five year deal as long as Kershaw is still at even 80% of current powers when the time comes.

Yancy Eaton
Member
2 years 7 months ago

A $215M contract and I didn’t even bat an eye when I seen it. Congratulations to Clayton Kershaw. I don’t understand why people get so upset or appalled when a professional athlete gets a huge contract. You’re not paying his salary, so why get upset?

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

While I agree with you about people overreacting to mega contracts…We the fans do pay his salary by showing up to games and buying $9 beers.

Wally
Guest
Wally
2 years 7 months ago

Not really. Teams charge you what you let them get away with. So, if you want to beer prices to go down, get some fans together and agree not to buy beer until prices drop.

And ultimately its the fan’s willingness to pay high prices, as well as the value placed on fans viewing games from home that drives baseball player salaries up. Not the reverse.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
2 years 7 months ago

But I mean, it’s true that Dodgers fans pay his salary. It may well be (in fact, it is) the case that Kershaw’s salary doesn’t cause ticket prices to rise, but the mechanism of money leaving Dodger fans’ wallets and entering Kershaw’s bank account is fairly direct.

Helladecimal
Guest
Helladecimal
2 years 7 months ago

Collective action to drive down in-stadium beer prices.

Now THAT’S the American way.

Tom
Guest
Tom
2 years 7 months ago

I think the TV contracts pay the high salaries

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

I agree that there is no direct link between prices for tickets & concessions and player salaries. That said though, if there are no fans showing up to game or watching games on TV…. Then there’s no revenue to pay anyone much less a Kershaw type. My initial response may have been overly simplistic but what I really meant is that the money to pay these guys doesn’t just fall from the sky. Attracting corporate sponsors and fat TV deals only happen when the product is consumed by enough of the public that investing heavily in said product makes sense for the sponsor and TV networks.

Omar
Guest
Omar
2 years 7 months ago

So basically jpg is admitting that he’s really just a stupid asshole.

jpg
Guest
jpg
2 years 7 months ago

Gee Omar you’re right thanks for enlightening me. I’m not quite sure I admitted to though….asshole

Johan Santa
Guest
Johan Santa
2 years 7 months ago

Dadgummit they’re gettin’ paid to play a kids’ game! I’d be doing that for free! And I wouldn’t need no bat or glove, neither, just hittin’ that ball with my FISTS. And I’d like it, too!

Philip Christy
Guest
Philip Christy
2 years 7 months ago

Well, if you attend any Dodgers games or get cable TV, you ARE paying his salary.

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 7 months ago

I actually like to think that I’m paying the players’ salaries. I’d much rather my money go to the people I’m actually coming to see than some rich monopolist owner. I mean, I appreciate ownership and management bringing good players to my city, but it’s the players who are doing the actual baseball playing.

DodgersKings323
Guest
DodgersKings323
2 years 7 months ago

You think i might have to pay significantly more than the $5 i usually do on Stubhub? Certainly not after a WS win

M. Scott Eiland
Guest
M. Scott Eiland
2 years 7 months ago

It’s a good deal for both sides, and setting things up to revisit in five to seven years given Kershaw has been very healthy and not abused–but that *no* pitcher is sound enough to justify a ten year contract at any age–is definitely rational.

Dave
Guest
Dave
2 years 7 months ago

I would not pay any pitcher that much. Too much injury risk. If he misses a year with Tommy John, you lose $35 million of value. I guess I wouldn’t be a very good GM.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

You’d probably be the Orioles GM.

“Nelson Cruz wants how much? 60 million! Tell him I’ll pay for his gym membership and Netflix subscription! Bah!”

Robo
Guest
Robo
2 years 7 months ago

Your example is Nelson Cruz? As an O’s fan I’m perfectly fine with him never playing for my team.

I’d have been much happier with them breaking the bank for Choo and then since they already lost their first rounder going after Morales. Probably still would have been an overpay, but at least you’d get some useful pieces.

W
Guest
W
2 years 7 months ago

I’m curious, is there any research on the idea that pitchers may not be good big money investments due to their injury risk?

M. Scott Eiland
Guest
M. Scott Eiland
2 years 7 months ago

Kershaw’s about as low risk as can exist in the real world–zero risk investments at the major league sports level don’t exist, and they certainly don’t exist for starting pitchers. I would have expected the Dodgers to have to pay more per year for a contract this short, to be honest–the opt out clause probably helped sell the plan to CK and his agent, as it provided two years of security against injury for him, while allowing him to bargain again in five years if his performance level remains stratospheric.

Cary Tilton
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

Shouldn’t Doc Gooden have made that list? averaged seasonal war through age 25 was 5.5 with 1291 IP?

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 7 months ago

Scroll up. Dave Cameron addressed Doc Gooden earlier in the comments.

Joe D.
Member
Joe D.
2 years 7 months ago

As great as he is, I can’t shake my concern that his numbers look better than they should because of pitching in Dodger Stadium 50% of the time, not to mention all the starts in SD and SF every year.

Boris Chinchilla
Guest
Boris Chinchilla
2 years 7 months ago

And being in the NL

jmpmk2
Guest
jmpmk2
2 years 7 months ago

Funny how the reverse logic of the ‘Coors Field’ argument never manifests itself in these discussions.

jim
Guest
jim
2 years 7 months ago

and unless the dodgers move, he’ll be making 50% of his starts in dodger stadium, not to mention all of the starts in SD and SF every year.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 7 months ago

Exactly

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

Park- and league-adjusted stats like WAR, FIP-, and ERA- are your friend…

Ben Linus
Guest
Ben Linus
2 years 7 months ago

It’s a real shame he just signed that contract that will only let pitch in Coors Field, Camden Yards, and Great American Ballpark over the next five-to-seven years.

M. Scott Eiland
Guest
M. Scott Eiland
2 years 7 months ago

And don’t forget that clause that will make sure half his starts are against the Cardinals at Busch–his agent really blew it with that one. :-P

Dustin
Guest
Dustin
2 years 7 months ago

The Twins couldn’t figure out what to do with him, so they had Johan Santana sitting in the bullpen for the majority of the relevant age range or else he’d make it. Through age 26:

856 IP
5.6 WAR/200
5.4 RA9/200
72 ERA-
72 FIP-

Unfortunately, he only threw 624 IP through age 25.

74 ERA-
75 FIP-
5.0 WAR/200
5.2 RA9/200

Belloc
Guest
Belloc
2 years 7 months ago

That is not an accurate statement. The way the Twins brought along Santana was by design. They used him as a starter and reliever to develop his confidence and limit his innings, particularly since Santana suffered from elbow problems in 2001. The Twins handled Liriano in the same way for the same reasons.

When the Cardinals used Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly in the same manner, no one called their organization indecisive. Rather, everyone remarked about the “Cardinal Way” and how more teams should handle their young pitchers in that manner.

Dustin
Guest
Dustin
2 years 7 months ago

They jerked him around. Here is the “plan” they worked from his debut through late 2003 when he finally became a full time starter

Debuted as a reliever in 1 game
3 starts
22 relief appearances
2 starts
7 relief appearances
1 start
4 relief appearances
3 starts
2 relief appearances
7 starts
1 relief appearance
2 starts
2 relief appearances
5 starts
20 relief appearances
1 start
7 relief appearances
2 starts
9 relief appearances

You say that was planned, I say they didn’t know what to do. If I had to guess, the strikeouts and command really threw them off. He was pitching to contact but there wasn’t any.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

2013 has shown the issue all along. The twins hate starter K’s, love reliever K’s. Santana had too many K’s, they were confused, thought he must be a reliever.

John
Guest
John
2 years 7 months ago

Has anyone seen the $/yr breakout on the 7/$215 contract?

If he’s likely to bail on the last 2 years, I’d be interested in how much comp he’ll be foregoing to do so.

It would change this contract considerably if it’s 5yr/$125 followed by 2yr/$90. Doubt it is, but curious.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 7 months ago

Its also very unlikely he would agree to anything like that. Maybe if it was closer to 175 for 5 and 40 for the last 2, but more likely it is simply a straight 30, at least after the 1st year

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 7 months ago

It’s $150 for the first 5 years, then $65 for the final two. So a pretty level breakout, meaning (1) there’s a good chance he bails if he remains his current excellent self and (2) if throws his arm out, or otherwise declines rapidly, he’s secured a nice $65M of extra cash as financial security.

Vlad the Impaler
Guest
Vlad the Impaler
2 years 7 months ago

Dave – legit question about the inner machinations of fWAR:

Here’s Verlander’s 2012 — 2.64 ERA/2.94 FIP/3.31 xFIP in 238 IP = 7.0 WAR
Here’s Kershaw’s 2013 — 2.53 ERA/2.89 FIP/3.25 xFIP in 228 IP = 5.4 WAR

Kershaw has historically been under Verlander in year to year WAR, with virtually the same rates and nearly identical FIP’s and peripherals.

What’s the discrepancy?

Todd
Guest
Todd
2 years 7 months ago

Wouldn’t part of the explanation be that offense continues to decline a bit each year, so a similar line on pitching is less good in the lower offensive year?

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

It was actually Kershaw’s 2012 that he posted.

JJ
Guest
JJ
2 years 7 months ago

Just keep pricing the average fan out of the games.

D
Guest
D
2 years 7 months ago

you can’t afford 20 bucks + parking to attend a dodger game? woe is you

DodgersKings323
Guest
DodgersKings323
2 years 7 months ago

Don’t even have to do that, there’s a free shuttle from Union Station for Pete’s sake

The Foils
Member
The Foils
2 years 7 months ago

I can’t even afford my own utility player at this point. It’s absurd.

Omar
Guest
Omar
2 years 7 months ago

Well this is a pretty stupid thing to say. Ticket and concession prices are based on supply and demand. If there is a demand for tickets, even at high prices, teams will continue to charge those high prices. Basically, if people are willing to pay high ass prices then teams are willing to charge them.

jruby
Member
Member
jruby
2 years 7 months ago

Yeah, I think I’m a pretty average fan – middle class, loads of student debt – and I make it to 8 or 10 Phillies’ games per year. Baseball’s still by far the cheapest of the four major sports to go see.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 7 months ago

Agreed. It helps that there are, like, 673 home games per team per year. (OK my math may be off a *tad*. But supply/demand factors skew toward the fan when you’ve got 81 home dates to sell, versus just eight in the NFL.)

Slats
Guest
Slats
2 years 7 months ago

The fact that his deal expires when he’s 32-years-old means this will probably be the best valued $200 million contract to date in MLB history.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 7 months ago

If he does not exercise his opt out after 5 years it means he is probably not very good in years 6 and 7

Nate
Guest
Nate
2 years 7 months ago
Triteon
Guest
Triteon
2 years 7 months ago

Today’s big takeaway is that Clayton Kershaw isn’t allowed over to Derek Holland’s house to play.

Seattleslew
Guest
Seattleslew
2 years 7 months ago

No, the takeaway is that Clayton Kershaw will end up washed up like Gooden.

Spa City
Member
Member
Spa City
2 years 7 months ago

Kershaw has been worth $30M per so far in his career. But the Dodgers are now very heavily invested in the health of his rotator cuff and ulnar collateral ligament. With the frequency of pitcher injuries, and the effect they tend to have, I suspect Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson (yes, I know they are minority owners, but they seem to be the baseball-centric owners, as opposed to Guggenheim Partners) will cringe every time Kershaw shows any sign of pain. Still, the Dodger ownership group is so wealthy they can take risks like this.

Any chance the Angels had of signing Trout to a 10 year, $300M contract (if that was ever on the table) is probably gone. If a 27 year old pitcher worth 6 WAR/year is worth $215M over 7 years, then a 23 year old outfielder worth 10 WAR/year might actually be in line for $450M.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 7 months ago

Trout has 4 years of team control left, and one of those is at league-minimum salary. If the Angels signed him right now, it would be for far less than 10/300 because they have 4 years where they a likely to pay him only $40 million.

Assuming something like $35 million per year as a free agent for the 6 remaining years, for $210M total, they might be able to get a deal done for 10/$250M.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 7 months ago

According to an article I read, somewhere, Mike Trout is probably already in decline

M. Scott Eiland
Guest
M. Scott Eiland
2 years 7 months ago

Or hearing one more online idiot trotting out the pseudo-hippie bleat “WAR–what’s it good for? Absolutely nothing!” might cause him to snap. Arguably justified mayhem on his part, but it wouldn’t be good for his future production.

Taylor Swift
Guest
Taylor Swift
2 years 7 months ago

Hi Clayton! Call me.

M. Scott Eiland
Guest
M. Scott Eiland
2 years 7 months ago

*Mrs. Kershaw down votes the above comment* :-)

Mike
Guest
Mike
2 years 7 months ago

I don’t know about anyone else, but my main takeaway from this article is that Kevin Appier, who I only remember as the okay pitcher he was at the tail end of his career, was actually insanely good once.

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 7 months ago

He was excellent until right around age 30 when his shoulder gave out. Think of Jake Peavy or Brandon Webb in their primes.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
2 years 7 months ago

He’s also, like some other guys, great examples of how someone can be a “dominant workhorse” … until they’re not.

It all depends whether the elbow or shoulder gets injured. Elbow injuries, not that big of a deal anymore. Shoulder injuries = big deal.

Metsox
Member
Member
Metsox
2 years 7 months ago

Agreed, Appier been popping up a lot, had no idea he was so good….

Seattleslew
Guest
Seattleslew
2 years 7 months ago

Kevin Appier should have won the 1993 Cy Young instead of Jack McDowell.

Seattleslew
Guest
Seattleslew
2 years 7 months ago

Jose Rijo should have also won the Cy Young in 93.

Dave Cameron's Puppy
Guest
Dave Cameron's Puppy
2 years 7 months ago

Ahh, Dave just licked my vulva again!

Seattleslew
Guest
Seattleslew
2 years 7 months ago

I guess the takeaway from today is that Kershaw most likely will end up washed up on drugs like Dwight Gooden.

BobbyWestside
Member
BobbyWestside
2 years 6 months ago

His first full year in the bigs: 8.36 k/9 (Moore: 8.88), 4.35 bb/9 (Moore: 4.11), 4.08 fip (Moore: 3.93)
His second year in the bigs: 9.74 k/9 (Moore: 8.56), 4.79 bb/9 (Moore: 4.55), 3.08 fip (Moore: 3.95)
His third full year in the bigs: 9.34 k/9, 3.57 bb/9, 3.12 fip.

The other player is Kershaw. Not saying Moore is the next Kershaw. But do you think it is a possibility Moore could follow a similar path and really break out this year?

Joe R
Guest
Joe R
2 years 5 months ago

Two (very late) comments
1) Congrats for Clayton and the Dodgers. Seems like a fair deal for both.
2) Congrats to Dave Cameron for making a very good prediction. Only short by $15 mil, well under 10%.

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