C.C. Sabathia is currently the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history, mid-way through a seven-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees. That is approximately $23 million per year for the big, burly lefty. And in today's market, he deserves every penny of it.
But the question today isn't about guys who already signed a fat deal. It's about the best young lefty in all of baseball: Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Last season, Kershaw pulled off a rare feat, winning the pitching version of the Triple Crown (leading the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA). With his 21-5 record, 2.28 ERA and 248 Ks, he was a no-brainer to win the Cy Young.
Kershaw is currently on a somewhat-cheap contract with the Dodgers, signed through 2013 at just $9.5 million per year. That is only because he's still so young (24) that he's stuck in his arbitration years.
Now, the Dodgers already locked up star outfielder Matt Kemp long-term, and Kershaw must be next on the list. They don't want to lose him to another team when he's eligible for free agency, and now with new owners in place, they should be throwing some of their new-found riches Kershaw's way.
But is the young lefty worth the richest pitcher contract in MLB history? Could Kershaw find his name inked to the first $200 million contract for a pitcher?
Yes and yes. And here's why.