GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has agreed to terms on a one-year contract, along with 17 other "zero-to-three" players currently on the team's 40-man roster. Kershaw will receive a $500,000 salary this season, which is on the high end for players with less than three years of major league service time who have yet to reach arbitration eligibility, but it still leaves him as possibly the lowest-paid Opening Day starter in the majors.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced last month that Kershaw, who will turn 23 on March 19, will get the ball for the club's March 31 opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw made $440,000 last year and posted his best season statistically, going 13-10 with a 2.91 ERA and topping the 200 mark in both innings and strikeouts. If he puts up similar or better numbers in 2011, he stands to receive a salary well into the seven-figure range in 2012, when he will be arbitration-eligible for the first time.
The Dodgers have 19 zero-to-three players on their 40-man roster, and they were able to reach agreements with all but one of them on one-year contracts. The exception was reliever Ronald Belisario, who in accordance with the Basic Agreement was renewed at a salary figure of the club's choosing because he failed to reach agreement. But that was merely a technicality because Belisario hasn't reported to spring training, isn't expected to do so and isn't expected to pitch for the club in 2011 because he hasn't been able to secure a work visa to enter the U.S. from his native Venezuela.
This year's major league minimum salary is $414,000, but most of the zero-to-three players are on split contracts, meaning they will receive the salary they agreed to only for the time they spend on the active, 25-man roster during the season. They will receive a much smaller figure for whatever time they spend in the minors.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.