One of the more fascinating storylines this offseason so far has been what Clayton Kershaw was going to do this offseason. On the one hand, he has been one of the very best pitchers in baseball for the better part of a decade now and if he were to opt out of his current, very lucrative deal with the Dodgers....there was the real potential that he could leave the Dodgers can get an even more ludicrous sum of money from another team.
On the other hand, his fastball velocity has diminished and he isn’t the same dominant force he once was. He is still extremely good, but there was also the real possibility that if he were to opt out, he would not be able to find the dollars and years that he is current deal afforded him.
All of that said, it felt like from the get go that the Dodgers and Kershaw were going to try very hard to work something out. The organization had said that they wanted to make him a Dodger for life and Kershaw has seen quite a bit of success with the team and it is clear that LA is willing to use its ample resources to put together a strong roster year after year. The two sides agreed to extend their self-imposed deadline on a decision on his opt-out until today to try and get something worked out and they managed to get a deal done.
#dodgers and Kershaw went from 2 yrs at $65M left on original 7 yr deal to adding a yr. now 3 yrs, $93M— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 2, 2018
The terms of the deal will keep Kershaw in a Dodgers uniform through 2021 at the very least. He did not opt out after this year, he was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.
Clayton Kershaw has accumulated an astonishing 61.6 fWAR since he joined the big leagues back in 2008 with a career 2.39 ERA and 2.64 FIP while striking out 9.77 batters per nine innings pitched. While his 2018 stat line of a 2.73 ERA and 3.19 FIP isn’t quite Kershaw-like, he dealt with back issues for most of the season and he was still quite impressive even if the season was not up to his usual standards.
As for the Dodgers, this move locks them in as contending for the foreseeable future. The resources devoted to Kershaw basically means that for at least the next few years (and likely more than that), the Dodgers will continue to make moves to ensure that they will be in the conversation for trips to the World Series each year.