The Los Angeles Dodgers made their first big move of the offseason, signing long-time ace Clayton Kershaw to a three-year extension worth a reported $93 million.
Although Kershaw had an opt-out clause, he largely was not expected to part from the only organization he’s known. The fact that the sides were able to work out a new agreement so quickly further supports that notion.
For Kershaw, it is all about unfinished business. The Dodgers have made the postseason eight times in his 11-year Major League career, but they still have not been able to capture that World Series championship that has eluded the organization since 1988.
Additionally, Kershaw has dealt with some injuries in recent years, and a big topic during the 2018 season was how he has declined as a pitcher. With a new deal in place, Kershaw anticipates silencing his critics, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Winning is still the most important for me, that won’t change,” Kershaw said. “And I think this deal as well gives me a chance to prove a lot of people wrong. This year especially, maybe rightfully so, there’s been a lot of people saying I’m in decline. I’m not going to be as good as I once was. I’m looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong with that.”
Pretty much the weight of an entire city has been on Kershaw’s shoulders over the last decade. So the good news for him is that he no longer needs to carry that burden by himself anymore with so many great young pitchers in the organization such as Walker Buehler and Julio Urias.
Even with a decreased velocity in 2018, Kershaw still had a very productive season by many standards. The Dodgers’ front office felt that he is still an elite pitcher, and treated him as such by adding another year and $28 million to his already existing contract to keep him in Los Angeles through 2021.