Clayton Kershaw isn't performing as though he has other things on his mind.
But the Los Angeles Dodgers' ace says that having to discuss ongoing contract negotiations has become a distraction after it was reported by ESPN and other media over the weekend that he had made progress with the team on a landmark deal that could be worth nearly $200 million.
"I think the reason we've been able to continue discussions for this long is that it's not been talked about," Kershaw said Sunday before the Dodgers' 6-3 loss to the Pirates, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"And now that I'm having to talk about it, it's a distraction because people are talking about it," Kershaw said. "I guess you'll have to talk to the Dodgers as to why it came out now. I don't love the fact that I have to talk about it."
Kershaw (5-4, 1.84 ERA) won the NL Cy Young Award in 2011 and is having a similar season this year, although with less run support. The left-hander with a 66-41 career record and a 2.70 ERA in five-and-a-half seasons -- all with the Dodgers -- has reportedly been targeting what would be the richest pitching contract, beyond the seven-year, $180 million extension the Tigers awarded Justin Verlander in March.
Kershaw's current two-year, $19 million deal is set to expire after this season.
"We kind of had an agreement that we weren't going to talk about it," Kershaw said before declining to further discuss the negotiations, according to the Times. "It didn't come from our side."