In the first full day back in action, teams around baseball began spinning their respective wheels in terms of major league roster additions. News was coming in left and right as the day progressed, but some big news struck for fans of the Dodgers a little before 6 p.m. Eastern time when reports surfaced that 33-year-old Clayton Kershaw was returning to the team on a one-year deal, pending a physical.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was among the first to report the news, indicating the pact is worth $17 million with incentives. In some ways, this new contract has the same flavor of the deal Kershaw agreed to before the 2019 campaign, when he inked a three-year deal worth $93 million.
After the 2018 season, Kershaw had the chance to opt out of his seven-year deal and choose free agency for the first time in his career, but he and the Dodgers reached a new three-year deal on the very same day he was eligible to opt out. Even though the lefty fought several injury battles during the 2018 season, the fact that his extension was only three years suggested to fans that he either didn’t have much left in the tank or was unsure of how effective he could be moving forward.
Now, as the smoke settles on this new one-year deal, one must wonder how serious his elbow injury actually was last year and whether he’ll be good to throw all out on Opening Day. All current reports reveal that he’s fully healthy.
As it stands, several starting pitchers are in the mix for the Los Angeles Opening Day rotation. For certain, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias have spots if they’re healthy. Newly acquired lefty Andrew Heaney should have a rotation spot, while righty Tony Gonsolin and veteran lefty David Price could be in contention for one of the final few spots.
Skipper multiple said on Friday that he “wouldn’t close the door completely” on Trevor Bauer being in camp, but that he isn’t aware what was happening with MLB’s investigation.
Regardless, Kershaw spent 69 days on the shelf last year with elbow issues from early July to mid-September before rushing himself back too soon and going on the IL for good on October 3.
In 2021, Kershaw finished the season with a 10-8 record and a 3.55 ERA with 144 strikeouts over 121-2/3 innings and 22 starts. The 3.55 ERA was the highest of his career aside from his rookie campaign in 2008.
Lifetime, Kershaw has made 376 starts and has posted a 2.49 ERA with a 9.8 K/9.