Heading into the offseason one of the more pressing situations the Los Angeles Dodgers faced was with Clayton Kershaw. Within three days of the World Series concluding, Kershaw was due to decide on whether or not he would opt out of the two years and $65 million on his contract.
It was part of a seven-year extension he’d previously signed with the Dodgers, bypassing free agency. Rather than potentially make a rushed decision, Kershaw and the Dodgers agreed to push the deadline back two days.
That appeared to signal the sides were working on a contract extension, and that later became a reality when the three-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a three-year, $93 million contract. The deal will keep him with the club through his age-33 season.
It also means Kershaw has yet to become a free agent since being selected by the Dodgers seventh overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. Naturally, there was plenty of internal excitement with his decision to remain part of the organization.
Specifically Walker Buehler, who mentioned the ability to continue learning from Kershaw, via MLB Network Radio:
“Right when he signed, I just felt like there was never a doubt. He’s obviously the color of this franchise. We’re excited to have him back and just continue to learn and mold young guys like myself after him.”
With an impressive rookie season behind him, some already consider Buehler the new ace of the staff. No matter how it’s split, the Dodgers boast two of the game’s better starters as a 1-2 punch.
As Buehler was entrusted with the ball in key games for the Dodgers this past season, perhaps no one was a bigger advocate than Kershaw. He embraced Buehler’s supreme level of confidence but jokingly said he would never truly tell the right-hander how talented he is.