Baseball: Dodgers sign Kershaw to record $274 million deal

Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in this file photo taken on Oct 18, 2013.  All-Star pitcher Clayto
Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in this file photo taken on Oct 18, 2013.  All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw has signed a seven-year contract extension worth a reported US$215 million (S$274 million) that will keep him with the Los Angeles Dodgers through the 2020 Major League Baseball season. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw has signed a seven-year contract extension worth a reported US$215 million (S$274 million) that will keep him with the Los Angeles Dodgers through the 2020 Major League Baseball season.

The Dodgers announced on Friday they had ensured the 25-year-old left-hander would remain with the team but the pricetag was the richest in major league history for any pitcher, exceeding Justin Verlander's seven-season deal for US$180 million with Detroit last year.

"The magnitude of the contract, the investment the team makes in you, is pretty cool," said Kershaw. "The confidence they invest in you is very special."

Kershaw captured his second National League Cy Young Award as best pitcher in three years with a stellar 2013 effort, leading the major leagues with a 1.83 earned-run average and pacing the National League with 232 strikeouts.

Kershaw went 16-9 in 2013 to help the Dodgers win the National League West division crown.

"It is an incredible privilege to be part of the Los Angeles Dodger organization for another seven years," Kershaw said. "I am particularly grateful to our team's ownership and front office for believing in me.

"With this contract comes tremendous responsibility, not only as a pitcher but as a good steward of the resources given to me. To whom much is given, much is required." "I'm humbled by this recognition and looking forward to a new season and hopefully a World Series championship for the city of Los Angeles." Kershaw's 2.21 ERA over the past three seasons is the best in the major leagues over that span. He is 51-23 over the past three seasons with 709 strikeouts in 697 innings.

Kershaw won the NL Cy Young in 2011 with a 21-5 record and major-league-low 2.28 ERA over 33 starts with 248 strikeouts.

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