On Monday, the team announced that they have re-signed Kershaw to a one-year, $20 million contract, with a $5 million signing bonus.
At age 34, Kershaw is coming off another All-Star season where he went 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA. He is three wins away from 200, and 193 strikeouts short of 3,000.
Presumably, Kershaw is taking a team friendly deal because he wants to stay in Dodger Blue forever, and he wants to win another World Series before he retires. There is much speculation that if the Dodgers win another championship with Kershaw, he would retire on top.
As far as the Dodgers pitching rotation goes, it currently consists of Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May. May will be starting his first full season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Urias is coming off another stellar season, and is on the last year of his contract. Gonsolin is coming off his best season ever, with a 16-1 record before he was injured for the last third of the season.
As for the fifth starter, it could be Ryan Pepiot. And presumably the Dodgers are in the market for one or two other starters because as we all know, you can never have too many.
One pitcher that the Dodgers will not be signing is Justin Verlander. On Monday, it was also reported that the reigning AL Cy Young winner signed a two-year, $86 million contract with the New York Mets, with an option for a third year. The Dodgers had had a zoom meeting with Verlander last week that was said to have gone well, but the 40 year old took his talents to NYC instead. Verlander will be joining former and now current teammate Max Scherzer in the starting rotation.
Jacob deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers last week, so the top free agents pitchers have been signed. The Dodgers may now turn their sights on Carlos Rodón, who is said the be seeking a six year contract. It is doubtful the Dodgers front office decides to give him that long of a contract, although they may be able to come up with a creative deal enticing to Rodón.
The winter meetings have just started, and one never quite knows the thoughts of President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, and exactly what direction in which he wants to take this team. He has stated that he is open to a reunion with both Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner. And there is that little matter of needing a shortstop.
The team’s payroll currently sits at $188M, about $45M under the first luxury tax threshold. We will possibly see by the end of the week Friedman’s thought process and what this team might be shaping up as. Stay tuned.