NEW YORK (AP) — Clayton Kershaw has two Cy Young Awards by age 25 and one runner-up finish. He just posted baseball's lowest ERA in 13 years and became the third pitcher since 1900 to lead the majors in that category for three consecutive seasons.
Here's another one: $300 million.
Scuttlebutt is, that's how much the Los Angeles Dodgers might be offering to keep him from becoming a free agent.
So when Kershaw was asked about a new contract Wednesday, his family and friends were ready. They walked right into the camera shot on MLB Network to engulf him with hugs and high-fives in a welcome interruption.
It was better run support than he often received from the Dodgers.
"That was perfect timing. I don't know how that happened, but it was great. I didn't have to answer the question," Kershaw said about an hour later on a conference call from his Dallas home.
"Not my doing. It was just coincidence."
Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award for the second time in three seasons Wednesday, coming within one vote of a unanimous selection. Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers breezed to the American League prize, chosen first on 28 of 30 ballots.
One year after he was runner-up to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Kershaw nearly shut out the competition.
The left-hander with the big-breaking curve received 29 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals was picked first on one ballot.
"It's just a whirlwind of emotions today," Kershaw said. "Whether you expect to win or you don't, just to hear your name called, it does something to you. ... It really is pretty special and I definitely don't take that for granted."
Kershaw is eligible for free agency after next season. So if the Dodgers plan to keep him, it's probably going to cost them in a long-term deal.
"I do love L.A. I really think we can win there, too," Kershaw said. "We'll just see what happens. It's kind of an open book right now."
Kershaw went 16-9 for the NL West champions this year and led the league with 232 strikeouts. His 1.83 ERA was the best in the majors since Pedro Martinez's 1.74 for Boston in 2000.
It's that sort of dominance that draws comparisons to another Los Angeles lefty: Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.
"I think Sandy would agree, I'm just trying to be me," Kershaw said. "I'm not trying to live up to those expectations because I don't think anybody can.
"I don't want to disrespect his legacy."
Kershaw's win marked the record 11th time a Dodgers pitcher has won the Cy Young since the award was first presented in 1956.
Koufax, who won three times and remains pitching royalty, has developed a friendship with Kershaw.
"Congratulations to Clayton on a great year and a most deserving Cy Young honor," Koufax said in a statement. "This is the second of many more to come. He's got quite a future ahead of him."
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