Kershaw signed a three-year, $93 million contract with the Dodgers on Friday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Both parties were able to come to an agreement prior to Kershaw's option deadline Friday afternoon. Per Rosenthal, there will be potential bonuses for Kershaw, though there's no options or any opt-out clauses attached to the deal. Instead of the two-year, $65 million he would've had by "opting in" to his existing player option, Kershaw will now make slightly less per year ($31 million as opposed to $32.5 million) but will add another season on top and have some incentives. This new deal will take the left-hander through his age-33 season. In 2018, he logged a 2.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 155 strikeouts across 161.1 innings in the regular season.
Kershaw and the Dodgers agreed to extend the deadline on his option decision until Friday. The original deadline for Kershaw to decide whether he'll opt out of the final two years of his contract -- worth $65 million -- was Wednesday night. Despite a slight downtick in velocity, Kershaw still posted a 2.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP across 26 starts in 2018.
Kershaw said Sunday in the aftermath of the Dodgers' World Series loss to the Red Sox that he hasn't decided whether he'll opt out of the final two years of his contract and become a free agent this winter, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. "I've got three days now to think about [the contract situation] before anything happens. And so it will be an eventful three days for me, and I'll try to figure it out." With the 2018 season officially coming to a close, he'll have until Wednesday to make a decision on his contract status for the upcoming campaign. If he opts out, Kershaw will forgo the $65 million remaining on his deal, though he likely wouldn't have much trouble recouping that amount -- and then some -- in free agency while re-signing with the Dodgers or joining another club. Although a stark decline in velocity this season in addition to recurring health issues in recent years casts some doubt about Kershaw's ability to continue pitching at an elite level well into his 30s, he was still unquestionably an ace-level talent in 2018. The southpaw delivered a 2.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in his 26 starts, with the stellar ratios somehow representing his worst marks since 2010.
Kershaw was confirmed as the starter for Game 1 of the World Series in Boston on Tuesday, Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports. The decision was an expected one, despite Kershaw pitching Saturday to close out the Brewers in Game 7 of the NLDS. The Dodgers' ace threw just 15 pitches in that game, the equivalent of a standard bullpen session, so he should be ready to go without a pitch count on Tuesday. Kershaw made two starts and one relief appearance in last year's World Series, finishing with a 4.02 ERA in 15.2 innings.
Kershaw will start Game 5 of the NLCS against Milwaukee on Wednesday, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports. Kershaw had a rough outing in Game 1 at Miller Park, surrendering five runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks while recording just two strikeouts. He'll aim for redemption in his home park after Rich Hill takes the hill for Los Angeles in Game 4 on Tuesday.