Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw ‘at peace’ prioritizing team over contract


SAN DIEGO — The massive-money, multi-year offers for 34-year-old Jacob deGrom and 39-year-old Justin Verlander haven’t made 34-year-old Clayton Kershaw query his strategy to free company shifting ahead. 

The Dodgers’ all-time strikeout chief nonetheless expects to take one-year offers for the rest of his profession. He’s content material with the $20 million pact he signed to return to the Dodgers, which turned official on Monday. 

“We’re so at peace with the best way we’re doing issues,” Kershaw mentioned. “There’s nothing incorrect with nonetheless anyone desires to go about it, and that’s superior. It’s only for me, for our scenario, I wish to decide the workforce first after which work out the contract after that.”

For a sixteenth straight season, that workforce would be the Dodgers. 

Instantly after his workforce’s surprising Nationwide League Division Sequence exit, Kershaw sounded assured he would play once more in 2023. He needed to return dwelling to Texas first and see if being a dad to his 4 youngsters would change his perspective, however he didn’t want a lot time to make his alternative after mulling his choices along with his spouse, Ellen. 

“It actually simply felt like we weren’t completed,” Kershaw mentioned. “I feel that was the most important factor is we simply felt like our time wasn’t completed in L.A.”

Kershaw referred to as Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to let him know his resolution was made. That was a few month in the past. Kershaw attributed the delay within the announcement to his procrastination in getting the MRIs completed. 

“I figured they’d seen this sufficient the place they didn’t want all these, however I suppose they nonetheless did,” Kershaw quipped. “In all honesty, it simply feels nice to return again. I simply felt like this was the place we would have liked to be. That is the place we wish to be. It simply seems like we’re not completed but, the best way we ended stuff final yr. It simply seems like we’ve obtained one other run in us, so I’m excited to get again on the market.”

The best way the 2022 season ended was “no enjoyable,” as Kershaw put it mildly. 

The Dodgers set a franchise file with 111 wins, 22 video games forward of the second-place Padres. They dominated the regular-season matchup, beating San Diego 14 occasions in 19 conferences. It didn’t matter within the postseason. The Dodgers’ season resulted in beautiful style with the Padres celebrating at Petco Park after a surprising 3-1 victory within the NLDS. 

“Hopefully all of us spend a bit time reflecting on what went incorrect, what we wish to do higher, how we will make this workforce recover from the hump, as a result of clearly the expertise is there,” Kershaw mentioned. “We now have the items. It’s only a matter of being a greater workforce and the way to do this. I’ve been desirous about it lots, hopefully guys have been desirous about it lots.”

In the end, he needed one other likelihood to complete the job. Feeling wholesome, it didn’t take him as lengthy this offseason to decide on his future. 

A yr in the past, Kershaw missed the 2021 postseason attributable to a flexor tendon damage. He didn’t decide up a baseball till January, and the lockout delayed his announcement additional. His alternative was at all times going to be between the Dodgers and his hometown Rangers, and he confirmed Monday it should stay that method for the remainder of his profession. 

“It’s no secret, I feel yearly there’s solely two groups I might ever play for going ahead,” Kershaw mentioned. “There’s not a number of leverage in that, clearly. However we simply by no means felt like we had been completed.”

A way more regular offseason awaits for Kershaw, who began throwing once more on Monday for the primary time for the reason that postseason’s bitter finish. 

Kershaw’s resolution to return eases the burden on Friedman and the Dodgers’ entrance workplace as they give the impression of being to fill out a rotation that can be lacking some key contributors. Walker Buehler is recovering from Tommy John surgical procedure, All-Star Tyler Anderson inked a take care of the Angels, and Andrew Heaney goes to the Rangers. 

“It’s nice bringing Kersh again dwelling,” Friedman mentioned Monday. “Initially of the offseason we talked about what a precedence it was for us, realizing and appreciating the method Clayton and Ellen would undergo, however the conversations had been nice, and he was all-in on coming again and doing all he might to assist us win a championship in 2023.”

Final yr, Kershaw broke Don Sutton’s franchise file for strikeouts. Subsequent yr, he’ll match Sutton’s pitching file of 16 seasons performed with the franchise. Kershaw mentioned he’s at all times thought of it “a cool factor” to have spent his complete profession with the franchise. He referenced the connections Derek Jeter has with the Yankees, Todd Helton with the Rockies and Chipper Jones with the Braves

The place he decides to play sooner or later, Kershaw mentioned, can be “a product of circumstance.” 

Whereas deGrom signed with the Rangers for 5 years and $185 million and Verlander is New York-bound for 2 years and $86.6 million, Kershaw feels good about his one-year alternative. 

The circumstances nonetheless really feel proper in Los Angeles. 

“I don’t wish to be informed the place to play,” Kershaw mentioned. “I wish to decide the place to play. If they need me, then we’ll determine it out. That’s how I wish to go about it for the remainder of my profession. If there’s a couple of {dollars} left on the desk, I’ll be OK with that.”

Prime tales from FOX Sports activities:

Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand was the Dodgers’ editor of digital and print publications. Observe him on Twitter at @RowanKavner.


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