Clayton Kershaw will continue to seek a World Series title in Los Angeles, as the star pitcher signed a three-year extension with the Dodgers on Friday.
According to a source cited by ESPN, the deal will see the Dodgers pay Kershaw $93 million over the next three years, with additional incentives available based on the number of starts he makes and other performance-based factors.
Kershaw Says Family Loves LA
Kershaw�s future with the Dodgers was uncertain, as he had the right to opt out of his seven-year deal with the team after this past season, five years into the contract. But Kershaw and the Dodgers had been working together on crafting an extension, and even pushed the deadline for the pitcher�s right to opt out until Friday give the two sides more time to iron out the details of the extension.
Had Kershaw decided to opt out, he would have become a free agent, but also would have given up the $65 million in guaranteed money he was set to receive in the final two years of the previous deal.
According to Kershaw, there was little doubt on his end that he would remain a Dodger for the foreseeable future.
�Honestly, I wanted to stay here,� Kershaw told reporters. �I talked a lot with [his wife] Ellen. My kiddos love it here, Ellen loves it here, I love it here. I love the team here. There�s not many opportunities that meet all the criteria that Ellen and I would be looking for.�
Kershaw Wants to Prove Doubters Wrong
If Kershaw was going to pursue free agency, there was speculation that he might consider signing with the Texas Rangers. Kershaw is from Dallas, and said that he would have given moving back to Texas more consideration if it weren�t for the fact that he wants to play for a team that is set up to win immediately.
�Winning is still the most important for me, that won�t change,� Kershaw told reporters. �And I think this deal as well gives me a chance to prove a lot of people wrong.�
Kershaw is coming off a year where he made just 26 starts, but still compiled a 9-5 record with a 2.73 ERA. For the 30-year-old pitcher, it was the third straight year in which he has dealt with injuries. While he is still one of the best pitchers in baseball, Kershaw is not throwing with the same velocity he was a few years ago. And while he is still young enough to continue being effective for some time to come, he�s likely entering the later portion of his career peak.
All of that combined to make Kershaw one of the more intriguing potential free agents this offseason, as reasonable people could disagree strongly on the correct value to pay for the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Based on his performance, he deserves to be among the highest-paid players in baseball, while the injuries and the fact that he is now 30 could have dampened the market for him somewhat.
In the end, the extension locked in $31 million per year for Kershaw over the next three years, and he says he plans to prove he�s worth every penny.
�This year especially, maybe rightfully so, there�s been a lot of people saying I�m in decline,� Kershaw said. �I�m looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong with that.�