The Dodgers finalized their contract with Clayton Kershaw on Monday, a one-year deal worth $20 million.
News of Kershaw closing in on a Dodgers return came November 10. Kershaw’s 16th season will tie Don Sutton’s record for most years pitched for the franchise.
This foray into the open market more resembled 2018 than 2021. Four years ago, Kershaw opted out of the final two years of his seven-year contract, then reached agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year deal on the day qualifying offers were extended. Last offseason, Kershaw was resting after his elbow injury, and didn’t sign until March, the wait extended by the MLB lockout.
Kershaw last year was 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 126⅓ innings, his best full-season ERA in six years. That included two starts in which he retired his first 21 batters faced.
Kershaw’s 2023 guarantee of $20 million is a 17.6-percent raise of last year’s $17-million base salary. He gets a $5-million signing bonus, payable on June 30, and a $15-million base salary, per Beth Harris at the Associated Press.
Last year Kershaw earned $1 million each for of 16, 20, and 22 starts, pushing his total to $20 million for the season. The incentives for this new contract are not yet known.
Kershaw made 22 starts in each of the last two seasons, totaling 248 innings.
With Kershaw back in the fold, the Dodgers have eight players under contract for 2023, plus another 10 eligible for salary arbitration. For competitive balance tax purposes, the Dodgers’ payroll next year is estimated at roughly $184.2 million.
The Dodgers have 37 players on the 40-man roster.