Report: Dodgers offered Clayton Kershaw contract close to $300 million.

Clayton  Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is expected to sign the richest contract by a pitcher in major-league history. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

The Dodgers offered Clayton Kershaw a contract in the range of $300 million earlier this season, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney.

That’s the highest dollar amount associated with the contract in any report this season. USA Today suggested earlier this month that Kershaw, who is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, could be in line to make more than $220 million over the life of the deal.

Olney reported that Kershaw balked at the scope of the contract and might seek a deal “perhaps more conservative in length.” Even if the actual amount of dollars and years are slightly less — 10 years would match Alex Rodriguez‘s contract, which Olney used as a comparison — it would make a prophet of Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson, who said earlier this month: “This young man is going to get paid.”

Kershaw led the major leagues in earned-run average for the third consecutive season, a career-low 1.83. His ERA-plus of 194 also led the majors and was the best in franchise history, topping Sandy Koufax‘s mark of 190 set in 1966.

Of the Dodgers’ 10 postseason games, Kershaw started four. In the first three — two in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, one in the NLCS — he pitched no fewer than six innings and allowed no more than one earned run. Pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his career, Kershaw limited Atlanta to two unearned runs over six innings in Game 4 of the NLDS. The Dodgers clinched the game, and the series, for their first playoff-round victory in four years.

Kershaw was lit up for 10 hits and seven runs in four innings Friday, taking the loss in the Dodgers’ season-ending 9-0 defeat in St. Louis.

Justin Verlander‘s seven-year, $180 million contract signed in March is currently the largest ever signed by a pitcher.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.