In case you haven’t watched a TV or used the Internet, Clayton Kershaw received a 7-year deal worth $215 million. Kershaw has been the best left-handed pitcher in baseball over the past few years, and you could certainly make the argument that he’s the best pitcher in baseball. Now how does this tie in to the New York Yankees?
Well, it does make signing Masahiro Tanaka that much more important. But besides that, the prices for Max Scherzer, David Price and James Shields just went up a little bit. You could make the argument that a $30 million a year paycheck is a bit of an outlier, however, other pitchers are going to use it. Scherzer is going to be 30-years-old this season. Would it be that much of a stretch for him to want $22-$25 million per year for six or seven years if he dominates like he did in 2013? David Price is a free agent in two years. Couldn’t he command similar money if he wins 17 games over the next couple of seasons?
This deal is also another example of how teams are locking up the players that they develop who become stars. You’re not going to see guys like CC Sabathia hit free agency all that often. Felix Hernandez? Nope. Evan Longoria? Not happening. Joey Votto? Staying put. It means you really need to cultivate your own talent, something the Yankees really haven’t done in recent years. Look at their second and third base situations. It’s not like they can pull an elite prospect like Kolten Wong and put him in a starting spot. The Yankees have to hope guys like Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson can get the job done.
While the Yankees can still spend money, and because of that be close to the playoffs every year, one of these years those elite guys, like Kershaw, won’t be out there to be picked up. It’s a trend that’s going to continue, and this is why the system must get better and soon.