Clayton Kershaw, who spent his 14-year career playing for the Dodgers, is not going anywhere. At least not in the next year. The lefty has agreed to extend his contract with the Dodgers for one additional year, as the team announced on Sunday, March 13.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported that the one-year extension resulted in Kershaw's $17 million paycheck, plus incentives. Before Kershaw entered the free-agent market, he agreed to a three-year extension after the 2018 season ended. The new contract was worth $93 million.
However, many would argue that each dollar that Kershaw earns with the Dodgers is more than well-earned. In his 14 years, he managed to build up a Hall of Fame resume. Kershaw is a five-time ERA champion, eight-time All-Star and has anchored rotations that won 9 straight NL West titles, the 2020 World Series and 3 NL pennants.
Moreover, the left-hander is a three-time Cy Young winner and an MVP. Dodgers’ stats with and without Kershaw also speak for themselves. The team’s win rate in the World Series without him is 31.4%, 84.4% in the division and 99.2% in the postseason.
On the other hand, whenever Kershaw is part of the team, the Dodgers' win rate in the World Series is 35.4%, 86.6% in the division and 99.5% in the postseason. As the numbers show, the change is quite significant whenever he is a part of the team.
Just before the deal was aired out, the manager of the Dodgers, Dave Roberts, spoke about Kershaw being a free agent. He stated that it would be strange being on the training pitch and not seeing Kershaw there. He also stated that Kershaw would forever be a Dodger, regardless of whether he signs a new deal with the team or not.
In 2021, Kershaw missed the entire postseason after he discomforted his left forearm late in the season. Even with the injury, he managed to record a 3.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings.
Reports stated that Kershaw wanted to be closer to home, which is Dallas, Texas. The best way to do that is to sign with the Rangers. After all, the Rangers are no strangers from recruiting former members of the Dodgers.
In 2019, they hired Chris Woodward as their manager and signed Corey Seager to a 10-year deal. However, their mission did not succeed with Kershaw, who decided to stay at the one place he knew best.
Even though Kershaw is 33 years old, he can still bolster a starting rotation with the likes of David Price, Andrew Heaney, Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias.
As for the Dodgers’ other plans, the club is reportedly interested in other free agents such as Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly. Freddie Freeman, the first baseman of the Atlanta Braves, is also a possibility. Roberts commented on Freeman by saying that he would love to see him in a Dodgers jersey.