Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw near agreement on new contract

LAS VEGAS — Things are about to “feel more right in the world” for another year.

The Dodgers are near a one-year contract agreement with Clayton Kershaw that would keep him in a Dodgers uniform for a 16th season in 2023. Earlier in the week, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman called re-signing Kershaw “a real priority for us” and said “things just feel more right in the world when Kershaw is wearing a Dodgers uniform.”

Nonetheless, the team had a mid-afternoon deadline Thursday to extend qualifying offers to their eligible free agents and did not extend the offer to Kershaw, at least nominally making him a free agent able to negotiate with other teams. While Kershaw has acknowledged pitching closer to his home in Dallas has some attraction to him, he apparently wasted no time in reaching agreement on a new one-year deal with the Dodgers.

A year ago, the Dodgers did not extend the qualifying offer to Kershaw because it would have forced the three-time Cy Young Award winner to make a decision about his future at a point in the offseason when his health was still very much an unknown.

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Kershaw re-signed with the Dodgers after the lockout was settled last spring, agreeing to a one-year contract that paid him $17 million plus $3 million more for incentives he achieved while going 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA in 22 starts.

The new contract is expected to be similar to last year’s version.

A 16th season with the Dodgers would tie Kershaw with Don Sutton for the longest tenure by a pitcher with the franchise. Kershaw moved past Sutton for the franchise strikeout record last season. With three wins in 2023, Kershaw could join Don Drysdale (209) and Sutton (233) as the only pitchers to win 200 games with the Dodgers. Kershaw (398) is also third behind Drysdale (465) and Sutton (533) in career starts for the team and fifth in franchise history in innings pitched.

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