One of the Dodgers’ biggest offseason questions was answered Friday when pitcher Clayton Kershaw signed a new deal, choosing not to opt out of his contract and remain in the city where his big league career began 11 seasons ago.
The team and three-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a three-year, $93 million deal with incentives.
Kershaw could have tested the free agency market by opting out of his contract with the Dodgers, which had two years and $65 million remaining. Opting out would have allowed him to negotiate with other teams, or re-negotiate with the Dodgers.
The decision was expected Friday after the team and Kershaw extended the deadline earlier this week. The 30-year-old pitcher has spent his entire 11-season career in Los Angeles, and the front office made it clear it wants him to remain the face of the franchise.
Kershaw wasn’t able to rewrite his postseason legacy of struggles, giving up three home runs Sunday in the Dodgers’ loss to the Red Sox in the deciding Game 5.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is 9-10 with a 4.32 ERA in the postseason. In two straight World Series, he’s 1-2 with an ERA of 5.40. Four of his six postseason starts in elimination games have ended in losses, including Sunday’s 5-1 defeat.
More Decisions to Come
Other offseason question marks include Manny Machado. He was the Dodgers’ splashy acquisition, brought in midseason from Baltimore to help them win their first World Series since 1988 after shortstop Corey Seager got hurt.
Instead, they lost the Series to Boston 4-1 and watched the visiting team celebrate a championship at Dodger Stadium again. Machado was hitless in four at-bats and struck out three times, including making the final out Sunday.
“Everybody will have their opinions on things,” Machado said. “The only thing that matters is these 25 guys in here.”
Corey Seager is expected back next spring, while Machado is not. He will join Washington’s Bryce Harper as the biggest names on the free-agent market.
Manager Dave Roberts is expected to receive a long-term contract extension, having led the team to three straight NL West titles and two World Series appearances in his short tenure.
Kenley Jansen is preparing for heart surgery in November. Jansen was part of the bullpen that contributed to the Dodgers’ losses during the World Series. Ryan Madson, the 38-year-old right-hander brought in Aug. 31 to bolster the relief corps, inherited seven runners and allowed all of them to score.
For three Dodgers, the offseason won’t begin for another few weeks.
Pitcher Kenta Maeda and utility players Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor will participate during MLB’s All-Star tour of Japan from Nov. 8-15.
The Dodgers have never played in three consecutive World Series, but their passel of young stars — including Cody Bellinger, Seager, Yasiel Puig and pitchers Walker Buehler and Julio Urias — make it a strong possibility.
“Obviously, there is a lot of talent in this clubhouse and a lot of guys who want to win and are motivated to get better,” retiring infielder Chase Utley said. “When you have all those combinations, you’re bound to have some success.”