It's not all $ and ¢ for the Kershaws

Clayton Kershaw returned recently from his second trip to Africa, again seeing the extreme poverty and diseases that have ravished villages in Zambia. But he also saw the impact of the charity work he has assisted, with his time and strikeouts, and the bond he has made with orphans. It's with that perspective, that Kershaw and the Dodgers did the annual exchange of arbitration numbers.

This is the first year the Dodgers can no longer pay Kershaw whatever they want. Coming off a Cy Young and Gold Glove season, the Dodgers offered $6.5 million. Kershaw asked for $10 million.

The two sides are likely to settle for something in the middle. The record for any starting pitcher in his first or second year of arbitration eligibility is $7.365 by Angels right-hander Jered Weaver.

Kershaw spoke to the media this week, but it wasn't about baseball or arbitration. Instead, he's promoting a book, written with his wife, Ellen: "Arise -- Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself."

Ellen brought Clayton to Africa for the first time last offseason. Their second 20-hour trip as a couple (her sixth) was this winter. The Kershaws take the trip with the group Arise Africa, which broke ground on "Hope's Home," a safe haven for children whose families have been destroyed by AIDS.

"HIV has wiped out the adult population," Clayton told reporters. "They are kids raising kids. The poverty, the living conditions, it's tough to see. It puts in perspective what we have here, things we take for granted, like eating three meals a day and having a place to sleep."

On his initial trip to Africa, Clayton provided a lot of manual labor. This time, it was more "relationship stuff," bonding with the kids, playing games, along with looking at the land purchased and working with architects for a second orphanage.

The first trip provided a challenge for Kershaw to find a way to keep his arm in shape. Considering he won Cy Young award, it didn't slow him down much.

This year, he was able to long toss with his wife's brother, a former high school baseball player, and he pitched into a blue tarp. Kershaw will donate money for every strikeout to Arise Africa once again this year. He'll also add partner charities from Los Angeles and his hometown Dallas.

"Ellen asked me what I wanted my legacy to be," Kershaw said. "You want to be remembered for something other than baseball. You can impact other people with your faith. That's the purpose of what this is all about."

NOTES, QUOTES
--RF Andre Ethier agreed to a $10.95 million, one-year contract to avoid salary arbitration. Ethier is eligible to become a free agent for the first time when the season ends. Ethier made $5.5 million in 2010 and $9.25 million in 2011. The modest raise is the result of Ethier having a subpar season that ended with arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-September.

--1B James Loney, in his final year of arbitration, agreed to a contract for $6.375 million. Loney earned $3.1 million in 2010 and $4.875 million in 2011. Loney's OPS was .612 on Aug. 5 and a non-tender was a given. Over the final 47 games, a torrid stretch (1.082 OPS) of average and power put his numbers back into his normal range for a season, ensured that he wouldn't get non-tendered, and led to a 31 percent raise.

--RHP Hiroki Kuroda's departure from the Dodgers has been a foregone conclusion for months, but he's officially a Yankee now. Kuroda's reluctance to commit another year in the United States early in the offseason caused general manager Ned Colletti to look elsewhere rather than waiting him out and possibly ending up with a big hole in his starting rotation. Colletti took Kuroda's salary from last year and went with quantity over quality, signing Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano for the same amount.

--INF Preston Mattingly, the 24-year-old son of the Dodgers manager who hasn't made it out of Single-A in six seasons, signed a minor league contract with his old man's former team, the Yankees.

--The Indians signed SS Julio Lugo (yes, he's still around) to a  minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training.

--Bill Shaken of the Los Angeles Times reports that The Los Dodgers told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday exactly how much they owe: $573 million. In addition, Frank McCourt's attorneys have said a sale could trigger a tax bill of up to $200 million. That would put McCourt's total obligations at up to $904 million, not counting any income-tax penalties or liability to Brian Stow's family. In their court filing, the Dodgers said all creditors would be paid in full, primarily with proceeds from the sale of the team. The new owner will inherit deferred player contracts, according to the plan. The plan is set for court approval April 13, with the winning bidder for the team identified no later than April 6. Opening bids for the team are due Monday. The Dodgers are expected to command at least $1 billion, which would be a record price for a major league club.  

--By Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA writes, Rob Reiner is a serious movie producer and a funny guy. So when he stepped to the podium to present an award at the ninth-annual Pro Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner late last week, everything that came out of his mouth had several layers of meaning. The ballroom at this swanky Beverly Hills hotel was packed with baseball luminaries. No fewer than a half a dozen Hall of Famers were in attendance for what's become something of a winter meeting in Los Angeles since former sports agent Dennis Gilbert's began hosting the fundraiser nine years ago. Reiner took one look at the crowd and laughed. "Show of hands," Reiner said, clearly going a bit off script. "Who in this room isn't trying to buy the Dodgers?"

--Seth Bluman, the Dodgers' senior director of ticket operations, earned the Dodgers' spot in the launch of MLB Network's first-ever game show, Baseball IQ. Bluman beat out 15 other Dodger front office employees to earn the trip to New York. His first-round matchup is against Greg Marinec, the San Francisco Giants' manager of client relations. Bluman will be competing for a chance to win up to $45,000 for the Dodgers' Dream Foundation and Think Cure.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1.325 -- Possible amount of dollars, in millions, the Dodgers could pay out for incentives reached in 2012. The top bonus is a half million for Juan Rivera if he reaches between 400-600 plate appearances. RHP Chris Capuano would receive an extra $375,000 for pitching between 160 and 195 innings. Last year, the Dodgers paid out $1 million out of a possible $6.925 million.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I fell in love with him. Wow, he had a great arm. I would have signed him on the spot. ... He had a little bit of a thought about coming over, but he wanted to stay. Those teams over there, if they want that kid, they will not let him leave the country." -- Tommy Lasorda, former Dodgers manager, to The Los Angeles Times, on the team's pursuit of Yu Darvish when he was a wiry 15-year-old with a fastball in the mid-80s. Darvish stayed in Japan until the winter, ultimately costing the Texas Rangers $51.7 million in a posting fee to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, then a six-year, $60-million contract for Darvish.