GM: Dodgers active in Tanaka talks

"I just kind of always had a feeling that it was going to work out and I didn't really let my mind get too much past it," Kershaw said.

The pitcher has founded and supported an orphanage in the African nation of Zambia as well as starting after-school programs for underprivileged kids in both Los Angeles and Dallas. He said he plans on extending his charitable efforts with the money from the new contract.

"Our heads have just been running with different things," Kershaw said.

Kershaw's contract is the richest deal for a pitcher in MLB history, eclipsing the seven-year, $180 million contract Detroit gave Justin Verlander last winter. Kershaw's  average annual salary of $30.7 million is the highest ever for any baseball player.

Sources told Olney that because Kershaw agreed to an $18 million signing bonus, with just a $4 million salary for 2014, his salary for 2014 -- for salary arbitration purposes -- is at $6.57 million (calculated as $18 million divided by seven years and adding $4 million salary).

The Dodgers drafted Kershaw seventh overall in 2006, choosing the hard-throwing high-school lefty over future Cy Young Award winners Tim Lincecum (who went 10th overall to the Giants) and Max Scherzer (who went 11th overall to the Diamondbacks), both of whom were older, more developed college pitchers.

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