If the Dodgers don’t want negotiations to be an issue after the season, they better start talking.
“I don’t think I’m going to let it go into the season if it does happen at all,” Kershaw said. “There’s nothing to say yet. We’ll see.
“I’m not saying ‘get it wrapped up, or say anything.’ I’m just saying, during the season I’m not going to talk about it.”
Kershaw, who turns 25 next month, still has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining.
By comparison, Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez was just 23 and had two years of arbitration eligibility left when he signed a five-year, $78 million contract in January 2010. Hernandez was scheduled to become a free agent in 2015 before he signed a seven-year, $175 million extension Tuesday.
That figure has been viewed as a benchmark, if not a baseline, for what Kershaw might earn with his next deal. He’s not paying attention to the speculation.
“It doesn’t bother me because it’s not true – it’s just people talking,” he said. “It really doesn’t bother me. I don’t love that it’s in the paper. At the same time, I know that’s the game. There’s no sense letting it bother you.”
Kershaw said he has an idea of the contract terms he is seeking but didn’t tip his hand. His only concern, he said, “is getting ready to go for April 1. All that stuff will take care of itself.”
All the Dodgers’ pitchers and catchers reported to spring training Tuesday and Kershaw said he’s pain free.