LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw agreed Wednesday to a $215 million, seven-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, a deal that makes the two-time Cy Young Award winner baseball's first player with a $30 million average salary.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been announced.
Kershaw receives the most lucrative deal for a pitcher, breaking the mark of $180 million set by Justin Verlander last March for his seven-year contract with Detroit.
Kershaw would have been eligible for free agency after the upcoming season if the new deal hadn't been reached. He was eligible for salary arbitration, and those figures were set to be exchanged on Friday. He was coming off a two-year, $20 million deal that included $200,000 in bonuses in 2012, a $500,000 escalator to his 2013 base salary, and $300,000 in bonuses last year.
General manager Ned Colletti said last week that both sides had been negotiating.
"It's our desire to sign him here for a very long time," Colletti said.
The average salary of $30.7 million tops the previous high of $27.5 million, set by the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez as part of a 10-year agreement from December 2007. While Roger Clemens had a contract with a listed salary of $28 million with the Yankees in 2007, he joined the team in June and actually made $17.4 million.
The Dodgers had baseball's second-highest payroll at the end of the regular season last fall - more than $236 million.
Kershaw's agreement, first reported by ESPN.com, is baseball's seventh of $200 million or more. Among current contracts, it trails only the agreements of Rodriguez, Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto ($251.5 million over 12 years), Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols ($240 million over 10 years) and Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano ($240 million over 10 years).
A left-hander who turns 26 in March, Kershaw won NL Cy Young Awards in 2011 and 2013. He was 16-9 for the NL West champion Dodgers last year and led the league with 232 strikeouts, and his 1.83 ERA was the best in the major leagues since Pedro Martinez's 1.74 for Boston in 2000. He has led the NL in ERA in each of the last three years.
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis tweeted: "Big winner today......me. I am blessed to catch best in the game for foreseeable future God willing. Congrats Kersh!"
Teammate Matt Kemp chimed in, tweeting, "Congrats 2 the best pitcher in baseball and great teammate (at)ClaytonKersh22 on his deal!"
Kershaw has been a powerful, yet low-key, presence on the team. In the offseason, the Dallas native has worked to build a charitable legacy alongside his wife, Ellen. The couple has made yearly trips to Africa, where his foundation that focuses on helping at-risk children built an orphanage.
The deal signifies further stability for a club that was in turmoil under former owner Frank McCourt, who sold the team to a group that includes Magic Johnson in 2012. The Dodgers signed manager Don Mattingly to a three-year deal last week and now have locked up their ace.
Last year, Kershaw pitched a career-high 259 innings between the regular season and the playoffs. The season ended on a sour note when he pitched a rare clunker in the Dodgers' 9-0 loss to St. Louis in the NL championship series that eliminated them.
Still up for discussion this winter is a new deal for Hanley Ramirez, who hit a team-leading .345 and played hurt during the NLCS. He has one year left on his contract.
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this story.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and its players' union Monday, seeking to overturn a season-long suspension imposed by an arbitrator who ruled there was "clear and convincing evidence" the New York Yankees star used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct the sport's drug investigation.
As part of the complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, Rodriguez's lawyers made public Saturday's 34-page decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who shortened a penalty originally set at 211 games last August by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract.
Horowitz, a 65-year-old making his second decision as baseball's independent arbitrator, trimmed the discipline to 162 games, plus all postseason games in 2014.
"While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed," Horowitz wrote.
Horowitz concluded Rodriguez used testosterone, human growth hormone and Insulin-like growth factor-1 in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in violation of baseball's Joint Drug Agreement. He relied on evidence provided by the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic in Florida.
"Direct evidence of those violations was supplied by the testimony of Anthony Bosch and corroborated with excerpts from Bosch's personal composition notebooks, BBMs (Blackberry messages) exchanged between Bosch and Rodriguez, and reasonable inferences drawn from the entire record of evidence," Horowitz wrote. "The testimony was direct, credible and squarely corroborated by excerpts from several of the hundreds of pages of his composition notebooks."
While the original notebooks were stolen, Horowitz allowed copies into evidence.
Rodriguez's suit accused the Major League Baseball Players Association of "bad faith," said its representation during the hearing was "perfunctory at best" and accused it of failing to attack a civil suit filed by MLB in Florida state court as part of its Biogenesis investigation.
His lawyers criticized Michael Weiner, the union head who died from a brain tumor in November, for saying last summer he recommended Rodriguez settle for a lesser penalty if MLB were to offer an acceptable length.
"His claim is completely without merit, and we will aggressively defend ourselves and our members from these baseless charges," new union head Tony Clark said in a statement. "The players' association has vigorously defended Mr. Rodriguez's rights throughout the Biogenesis investigation, and indeed throughout his career. Mr. Rodriguez's allegation that the association has failed to fairly represent him is outrageous, and his gratuitous attacks on our former executive director, Michael Weiner, are inexcusable."
The suit also claimed MLB engaged in "ethically challenged behavior" and was the source of media leaks in violation of baseball's confidentiality rules.
Rodriguez's lawyers said Horowitz acted "with evident partiality" and "refused to entertain evidence that was pertinent and material." They faulted Horowitz for denying Rodriguez's request to have a different arbitrator hear the case, for not ordering Selig to testify and for allowing Bosch to claim Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions during cross-examination.
They also said Horowitz let the league introduce "unauthenticated documents and hearsay evidence ... obtained by theft, coercion or payment," wouldn't allow them to examine Blackberry devices introduced by MLB and was fearful he would be fired if he didn't side with management.
Rodriguez asked the court to throw out Horowitz's decision and find the league violated its agreements with the union and that the union breached its duty to represent him. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos.
Supreme Court decisions have set narrow grounds for judges to vacate arbitration decisions, instances such as corruption or not following the rules agreed to by the parties.
The three-time AL MVP admitted five years ago he used performance-enhancing substances while with Texas from 2001-03, but the third baseman has denied using them since. MLB's Biogenesis investigation was sparked after the publication of documents last January by Miami New Times.
Bosch agreed in June to cooperate with MLB and testified during the hearing, which ran from September until November. Rodriguez's lawyers attacked his credibility because of that deal, which included reimbursement by MLB for costs of lawyers, up to $2,400 daily for security, insulation from civil suits and a promise to tell law enforcement he was cooperative.
"The benefits accorded to Bosch under that arrangement did not involve inducements that the panel considers to be improper," wrote Horowitz, who chaired a three-man panel that included MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and union General Counsel David Prouty.
Horowitz cited the credibility of Bosch's "unrebutted testimony - testimony which was corroborated by substantial documentary evidence," and he described how Bosch and Rodriguez communicated in code, referring to banned substances as "food."
"Once when Bosch sent a message telling Rodriguez that he was going to pick up Rodriguez's `meds,' Rodriguez replied `Not meds dude. Food,'" the arbitrator wrote.
Rodriguez did not testify in the grievance, walking out after Horowitz refused to order Selig to testify.
At a brief hearing Monday, MLB said it would not discipline Rodriguez for including the decision in his lawsuit. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III brushed aside concerns from the union about confidentiality concerns.
"Given the intense public interest in this matter and Commissioner Selig's disclosures last night on `60 Minutes,' it's difficult to imagine that any portion of this proceeding should be under seal," Pauley said.
The arbitrator noted Bosch and Rodriguez exchanged 556 text messages and had 53 telephone calls in 2012. He said all records of text messages were produced by Bosch, while lawyers for Rodriguez said the Blackberry he used to communicate with Bosch was deactivated last March and Rodriguez no longer had it.
The arbitrator said Rodriguez instructed Bosch in one message to "erase all these messages."
Horowitz recounted how Rodriguez was introduced to Bosch after a Yankees game in Tampa, Fla., in July 2010 by A-Rod's cousin, Yuri Sucart, who knew Bosch through Jorge "Oggi" Velazquez.
Horowitz wrote MLB was justified in citing violations of the collective bargaining agreement because Rodriguez "played an active role in inducing Bosch to issue his own public denial on Jan. 29" and "attempted to induce Bosch to sign a sworn statement on May 31" saying he never supplied the player.
In determining the length of the penalty, Horowitz cited a 2008 decision in a grievance involving Neifi Perez in which arbitrator Shyam Das ruled "separate uses are subject to separate disciplines." He said under the discipline system for positive tests, Rodriguez would be subject to at least 150 games for three violations of 50 games. Still, Horowitz thought Selig's initial penalty was too severe.
"A suspension of one season satisfies the structures of just cause as commensurate with the severity of his violations," he wrote.
Rodriguez's lawyers claimed at worst the case should involve one first violation with a penalty of 50 games, and they said including the 2014 postseason was beyond the scope of Selig's original discipline. Horowitz rejected Rodriguez's argument that the lack of a positive test was proof of innocence.
"It is recognized Rodriguez passed 11 drug tests administered by MLB from 2010 through 2012. The assertion that Rodriguez would have failed those tests had he consumed those PES as alleged is not persuasive. As advanced as MLB's program has become, no drug-testing program will catch every player," Horowitz wrote.
In Selig's notice of discipline to Rodriguez on Aug. 5, he said MLB actively is investigating allegations he received banned substances in 2009 from Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.
Lawsuit and arbitrator's decision:
Familiar foes. Rivalry showdowns.
Talk about a couple of juicy title-game tussles.
It's Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady - Round 15 - in the AFC championship game next Sunday, while the San Francisco 49ers square off against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC title bout.
Yep, here we go again. With a Super Bowl trip on the line.
"It's the Broncos versus the Patriots and certainly Tom and I have played against each other a lot," Manning said, "but when you get to the AFC championship, it's about two good teams that have been through a lot to get there."
Manning helped lead Denver past the San Diego Chargers 24-17 on Sunday, setting up another meeting with Brady and New England, which beat Indianapolis 43-22 on Saturday night. The Broncos (14-3) opened as 6 1/2-point favorites for the game at Denver.
"That's two of the greats," Denver wide receiver Eric Decker said. "It's going to be talked about a lot throughout the week."
Manning and Brady have squared off 14 times throughout their careers, with the Patriots quarterback holding a 10-4 edge in the head-to-head matchup, including a 34-31 overtime victory in November. They each have a win against the other in the AFC championship game: Brady in the 2003 playoffs and Manning in the 2006 postseason with Indianapolis.
And the winner went on to win the Super Bowl each time.
But, it's not necessarily the same old story this time around. Both the Broncos and Patriots have been winning with balanced offenses, relying not only on the strong arms of their record-breaking quarterbacks but also on their running games.
Manning was 25 of 36 for 230 yards and two TDs, but the Broncos controlled the clock on the ground. After gaining just 18 yards against San Diego last month, the Broncos ran for 133 yards, including 82 by Knowshon Moreno, whose 3-yard TD run put them ahead 24-7 with 8:12 left.
The Chargers rallied to get within a score late, but Manning completed a pair of key third-down passes in the final minutes to prevent San Diego from getting a final chance.
"They're a great team, they had a big win (Saturday) night," Manning said of the Patriots. "We're going to enjoy this one tonight, start to work on them tomorrow and I know it'll be a heck of a game."
At Foxborough, Mass., LeGarrette Blount carried the Patriots (13-4) to their third straight AFC title game with four touchdown runs against the Colts. Stevan Ridley added two rushing scores, giving New England six TDs - and none by Brady.
"The way our defense is getting the ball for us and, really, what we've done the last three or four weeks (with) the running game has just been awesome," Brady said. "Hopefully, we can do it next week, too."
In the NFC, the 49ers and Seahawks are all set to play in the latest chapter in one of the NFL's budding - and bitter - rivalries.
The Seahawks (14-3) opened as 3-point favorites for the game at Seattle against 49ers (14-4), who defeated the Carolina Panthers 23-10 on Sunday.
On Saturday, Marshawn Lynch ran for a franchise playoff-record 140 yards and two touchdowns and Seattle's defense flustered Drew Brees and New Orleans in a 23-15 victory. The top-seeded Seahawks advanced to the NFC title game for the second time, and first since the 2005 playoffs.
"We haven't done anything yet," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "That's our goal. We have 60 minutes of football left."
San Francisco, which lost last year to Baltimore, is looking for a return trip to the Super Bowl. And lots of hard hits and plenty of jawing might be expected in this latest matchup with the Seahawks.
"I think we're the two teams everyone was looking at from the beginning," 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. "It's going to be a knockdown, drag-out game."
Count on it.
The previous few games between the NFC West rivals have been full of contempt, with shoving, pushing and arguing spicing things up. Even the coaches don't care for each other.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh have been rivals dating to their days as opponents in the old Pac-10. In 2009, after Harbaugh's Stanford team ran up the score on Carroll's Southern California squad in a 55-21 rout, the two met at midfield and an annoyed Carroll barked, "What's your deal?"
That's carried over to the NFL - and it might get ramped up again during the week.
"We're healthy, we're a great team and we're willing to do whatever it takes to get that ring," 49ers running back Frank Gore said. "We're playing great ball."
Good thing, since the 49ers have committed seven turnovers and been outscored 71-16 in their past two trips to Seattle, including a 29-3 Week 2 loss in September.
"We're a different team than we were the first time we played them up there," Kaepernick insisted.
The 49ers will get a chance to prove that next weekend.
At Seattle, Steven Hauschka kicked three field goals in blustery conditions, and Lynch capped the victory with a 31-yard scoring run with 2:40 left that Carroll celebrated by jumping into offensive line coach Tom Cable's arms.
"It feels awesome," fullback Michael Robinson said, "but this doesn't mean anything if we don't win next week."
AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Janie McCauley, Steve Reed, Arnie Stapleton and Howard Ulman contributed.
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