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a half-game lead over the Arizona

Matthew Stockman/Getty ImagesThe Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershawagreed to a new three-year contract Friday that ensures he won't become a free agent until the end of the 2021 campaign , the team announced.TheNew York Post's Joel Shermanreported the deal is for $93 million.Kershaw had until 4 p.m. ET on Friday to decide if he wanted to exercise or decline the option in his contract. Had he opted out, he would have forfeited $65 million over the next two seasons."Honestly, I wanted to stay here," Kershaw said Saturday, per'sAiden Gonzalez. "Financial, everything aside, it was more valuable to me to stay here. I'm glad we got that done. I talked a lot with Ellen [his wife]. My kiddos love it here, Ellen loves it here, I love it here. I love the team here. There's not many opportunities that meet all the criteria that Ellen and I would be looking for."It gives me a chance to prove a lot of people wrong," Kershaw added. "I think this year especially鈥攎aybe rightfully so鈥攖here's been a lot of people saying that I'm in decline or I'm not going to be as good as I once was. I'm looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong with that."The 30-year-old has established himself as arguably the top starting pitcher in baseball.He has seven seasons with 200 strikeouts or more (and hit 301 strikeouts in 2015), six seasons with a sub-2.50 ERA Matt Andriese Jersey , three seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA and six seasons with a WHIP below 1.00. He's thrown 175 or more innings seven times and has eight straight years of double-digit wins (2010-17).He's led the National League in ERA five times, WHIP four times, wins three times and strikeouts three times.He's a seven-time All-Star,three-time Cy Young winner and was the 2014 NL MVP. He was the first pitcher to earn that honor in the National League since Bob Gibson in 1968 (Justin Verlander was the last pitcher to win AL MVP in 2011).Suffice it to say, Kershaw's value to the Dodgers is astronomical despite a rather inconsistent postseason track record. Overall, Kershaw is 9-10 with a 4.32 ERA across 24 playoff starts, including 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA over 11 innings against the reigning championBoston Red Sox in this year's World Series.Despite those flaws, the Dodgers negotiated a new deal with Kershaw to keep the perennial Cy Young candidate in Southern California.If he's able to maintain his elite level of pitching well into his 30s, that will not only be money well spent, but Kershaw may also go down as one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history. The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly the leading contenders to land Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado via trade, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman.Heymanadded that while the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers have an "outside chance ," talks between the O's and Dodgers are heading "toward the finish line."Jon Paul Morosi of had reported Monday that Philadelphia was "the most likely destination" for Machado, but Heyman is expecting a deal to get done with the Dodgers this week.The 26-year-old Machado is in the midst of his best season, hitting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI.The four-time All-Star ison pace for career highs in most major offensive categories, which makes him one of the most highly sought after deadline rentals in recent memory.Since Machado can become a free agent during the offseason, the team that trades for him will be taking a huge risk in terms of giving up assets in return for what may only be a few months of Machado's services.It may be a worthwhile move for a team like the Dodgers since they hold a half-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West.The National League is weak in comparison to the American League, which means the door is open for several teams to potentially make a deep run.Considering the Phillies and Brewers are also in playoff positions currently, acquiring Machado would not only help the Dodgers, but it would also prevent some of their closest competitors from getting better.Acquiring Machado would likely kick Chris Taylor back to the outfield, giving the Dodgers one of Major League Baseball's most potent infields, as it also includes Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Justin Turner.L.A. has a deep and talented farm system Jesus Sucre Jersey , and although it is unclear who it would need to part with in order to land Machado,MLB.comlists outfielder Alex Verdugo, catcher Keibert Ruiz, pitcher Mitchell White, outfielder Yusniel Diaz and pitcher Dennis Santana as some of the Dodgers' top prospects.The Dodgers have been on a roll since some early-season struggles, and while they are a respectable ninth in the league in runs scored and fifth in home runs, Machado would both elevate their offensive potency and likely make them the team to beat in the NL if they aren't already.
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