For as much as Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are focused on the present and ending the organization’s World Series drought, the possibility of the three-time Cy Young Award winner becoming a free agent this winter hovers over the franchise.
Kershaw can opt out of his contract at the conclusion of the 2018 season, which would add him to a free agency class that’s expected to include the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. At 30 years old, Kershaw would become a free agent for the first time in his career.
The southpaw signed a seven-year, $215 million contract five years ago. His current deal calls for salaries of $32 million next season and $33 million in 2020.
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said the club had “open dialogue” with their ace on the possibility of agreeing to a contract extension prior to the offseason. Kershaw, Zaidi and Dodgers president of baseball operations share a commonality in that they prefer not to publicly discuss contractual matters.
So when asked about Zaidi’s comments and if he could provide additional information, Kershaw only confirmed that he and the Dodgers front office do have some form of communication on the matter, via Michael Duarte of NBC:
“I think that’s a good way to put it, for sure. We just talk. Farhan, Andrew and I have good communication. We’re all on the same page as far as everything is going.”
Kershaw’s remarks came after a strong 2018 Spring Training debut in which he needed 11 pitches to retire the Seattle Mariners in order in the first inning. Kershaw then retreated to the bullpen for another inning’s worth of pitches.
As for his outlook beyond next season, a healthy year would all but guarantee Kershaw opts out of the remaining two years on his contract. Under Friedman, the Dodgers have avoided long-term deals, but Kershaw’s talent and clout within the organization figure to make him an exception.