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Dodgers sign Ethier and Loney but are not close on Kershaw

Outfielder and first baseman avoid arbitration with one-year pacts, but the team and the pitcher appear far apart on a contract. Angels infielder Erick Aybar also avoids arbitration with a one-year contract.

January 18, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, left, is congratulated by teammate James Loney after scoring a run against Cincinnati on June 15. The Dodgers re-signed Ethier and Loney on Tuesday.
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, left, is congratulated by teammate… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers appear far apart on a contract for the coming season, with the National League Cy Young Award winner asking for $10 million and the team offering $6.5 million.

The Dodgers avoided salary arbitration with two other players Tuesday, signing outfielder Andre Ethier for $10.95 million and first baseman James Loney for $6.375 million.

The Angels also avoided arbitration with shortstop Erick Aybar, signing him for $5.075 million. General Manager Jerry Dipoto said he would continue to discuss a long-term contract with Aybar.

Ethier, Loney and Aybar all are eligible for free agency after the coming season.

Kershaw is not eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season. General Manager Ned Colletti said through a spokesman that the team has not ruled out a long-term deal with Kershaw and would continue to explore one-year and multiyear approaches with his representatives.

Kershaw declined to comment on his contractual situation during a Dodger Stadium event Tuesday to discuss his charity work in Africa, as chronicled in a new book he wrote with his wife and sister-in-law. The book is titled "Arise." The Kershaws have helped the organization Arise Africa raise funds to build a children's home in Zambia.

Kershaw earned $500,000 last season, the final one in which the Dodgers could pay him whatever they liked. He has not previously been eligible for salary arbitration, which generally requires three full years in the major leagues.

If he is awarded $10 million in an arbitration hearing, he would receive the highest salary of any starting pitcher in his first or second year of arbitration eligibility. That record is held by the Angels' Jered Weaver, who lost in arbitration last year and still received $7.365 million.

Kershaw and the Dodgers would go to a hearing next month if they cannot settle on a contract before then. The Dodgers have not gone to a hearing with one of their players since 2007.

If Kershaw and the Dodgers split the difference in their proposals, the team would be likely to open the season with a 25-man roster earning about $92 million.

The Angels are expected to open the season with a 25-man roster earning about $150 million.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

Times staff writers Dylan Hernandez and Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.

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