Clayton Kershaw is staying in Dodger blue...for one more year at least.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report on Friday that Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers were in agreement on a one-year deal, pending a physical.
The legendary pitcher for the Dodgers has been with the team his entire career. Kershaw was drafted by the Dodgers in 2006 and won three Cy Young Awards and an MVP before finally becoming a World Series champion in 2020.
The deal is reportedly for one-year, $17 million plus incentives. More importantly, it guarantees that Kershaw stays with the Dodgers for the 2022 season.
"It will feel very strange," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts when asked about not seeing Kershaw at spring training earlier in the day before the deal was announced. Roberts added that even if Kershaw had not re-signed with the team, he would be a "Dodger forever."
Kershaw missed the entire postseason in 2021 after suffering left forearm discomfort late in the season. Despite that, he still recorded a 3.55 ERA with 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings.
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Reportedly, Kershaw was interested in staying closer to his home in Dallas, Texas by signing with the Rangers. The Rangers hired former Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward as their manager in 2019 and signed former Dodgers' shortstop Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million deal before the lockout began last November. Both admitted to recruiting Kershaw to sign with Texas before the lockout began on Dec. 2.
Instead Kershaw stayed with the only team he's ever known, and fans will certainly be happy about that. Losing Kershaw would have been a substantial disappointment for the Dodgers and their fans, both on the field and off.
Even at 33 years old, Kershaw can still bolster a starting rotation that features Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, David Price, Tony Gonsolin, Andrew Heaney, and possibly Trevor Bauer depending what the league does in terms of a suspension.
Kershaw is not only a future Hall of Famer, but a leader in the clubhouse. His veteran presence has been touted by many younger players as someone that leads by example and through his unwavering work ethic. For fans, it's only right that Kershaw continues his career with the Dodgers, and like Sandy Koufax before him, spends the entirety of his baseball career in blue.
Now that Kershaw has signed, the Dodgers have other free agents to possibly re-sign like Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen. Rumors that World Series Champion Atlanta Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman, could sign with the Dodgers is also a possibility.
"I would love to see Freddie Freeman in a Dodgers uniform," said Roberts about Freeman potentially signing with the Dodgers. "He's a heck of a ball player. He's put himself in a situation to be a free agent and has earned the right to be courted by other teams and see what's best for he and his family. He's certainly in the conversation for us."