When the National League Cy Young Award winner is announced there's a pretty good chance that the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw will hear his named called. Sadly the person most disappointed won't be the Philadelphia's Roy Halladay or Arizona's Ian Kennedy. It will be current Dodgers owner, Frank McCourt.
Why you ask? What kind of owner would root against his own player? The kind that knows a Cy Young win by the 23-year-old about to go to salary arbitration means it's going to cost him money. A lot of money.
Kershaw, already thought of as the best pitcher to wear a Dodger uniform in a generation, finished 2011 with a 21-5 record, 248 strikeouts and a 2.28 ERA, becoming the first pitcher since 2007 to win the triple crown and the first Dodger to accomplish the feat since Sandy Koufax in 1966.
After finishing his first two years at .500, but with nearly 200 strikeouts per year, Clayton turned the corner in 2010. With his lifetime record now at 47-28, a 2.88 ERA and 745 strikeouts Kershaw has been as dominant as any Dodger pitcher in the first four years of his career.
In the last year of a contract that pays him $500k, Kershaw goes to arbitration this winter for the first time in his career. With the 2011 pitching triple crown already in his trophy case, Clayton will earn in the range of $7 million next season. If you add a Cy Young Award to the mix, Kershaw moves into the $9 million neighborhood for 2012. And that, my friends, is bad news for one Frank McCourt.
With groups putting together auction bids that may go north of $1 billion, every dollar that isn't already spent, and yes that includes salaries for coming years, ends up in McCourt's pocket when the smoke clears. Every single dollar that McCourt spends between now and the time the sale is complete comes out of the profit he'll likely take away with him. Subtract the $131 million he's required to pay his ex-wife in April and you can see why McCourt is going to be in super-saver mode this offseason.
So tonight, before he goes to bed, Frank McCourt will likely devote a considerable amount of time praying that Clayton Kershaw doesn't win the NL Cy Young.