When Clayton Kershaw began to face questions about his future with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in Spring Training, he stressed it was not at the forefront of his mind and focus instead was on the 2018 season.
Kershaw’s responses when questioned throughout the year about his opt-out clause were in the same tone. That changed in some regard after the Dodgers lost Game 5 of the World Series and the clock was set to begin ticking Monday morning.
Kershaw initially believed he had up to 10 days to make a decision on potentially becoming a free agent, but clarified after falling to the Boston Red Sox that it was only three days. He anticipated them being ‘eventful.’
Hours ahead of the deadline to make a decision, the Dodgers and Kershaw mutually agreed to push it back to Friday at 1 p.m. As that nears, there is a belief they will come to terms on a contract extension, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
#Dodgers are optimistic they will work out an extension — more than the 2 at $65M currently owed — with Kershaw today, perhaps having to go a bit beyond 4pm deadline. But strong belief he does not opt out and become a free agent and instead stays with LA
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 2, 2018
Should Kershaw not opt out of the two years and $65 million remaining on his deal, it would mean a second time he bypassed free agency in favor of remaining with the Dodgers. They are the only organization he’s known since being selected seventh overall in the 2006 MLB Draft.
Kershaw has often expressed his gratitude for being part of a franchise committed to competing, and the appreciation has been returned from the front office and players alike. Speaking at an end-of-season press conference, Friedman said it was impossible to place a value on the impact Kershaw has had on the organization.