Some days ago, we learned that the Los Angeles Dodgers had signed outfielder Matt Kemp to an eight-year contract worth $160 million. Kemp was a year away from free agency, and Kemp is good, so signing Kemp is good, for the Dodgers. Baseball is simple!
But it wasn't until Friday that Kemp's extension became official, as he and Dodgers GM Ned Colletti signed their names on the contract at a Dodger Stadium ceremony. Kemp wore this. Kemp put that outfit together with the money he had. Now he will have way more money.
How does Kemp's contract break down? First of all, it doesn't include a no-trade clause. Second of all, it does include a $2 million signing bonus. Now for the year-by-year:
2012: $10 million ($2 million deferred) 2013: $20 million 2014: $21 million 2015: $21 million 2016: $21.5 million 2017: $21.5 million 2018: $21.5 million 2019: $21.5 million
Every year, Kemp will donate $250,000 to the Dodgers Dream Foundation. Over the life of the contract, that equals his entire signing bonus. It is a fake signing bonus!
Earlier in the afternoon, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Los Angeles Dodgers were approaching a contract extension for the likely National League MVP, Matt Kemp, who was scheduled to be a free agent after the 2012 season. Now from Jon Heyman, we have confirmation:
kemp & dodgers are in agreement, pending physical. @Ken_Rosenthal reported $160M for 8 yrs. good deal for all
Kemp had his best year by far both by traditional statistics (HR, RBI, AVG) and newfangled stats (WAR, OPS+), and he also won the second Gold Glove of his career, so it was an open question how much he could pry from the Dodgers before testing the open market. Turns out that $20 million per year was the magic number.
The Dodgers have been in a financial morass for most of the season, with Bud Selig and MLB taking over control of the team's finances, so news of the extension is a little surprising. With the team up for sale, though, it was probably more likely that Kemp was viewed as a star that would help the franchise's value rather than an expense that devalues it.