Clayton Kershaw returned to the Dodgers on a one-year contract for 2022, ensuring the three-time Cy Young Award winner will be back in Los Angeles for a 15th major league season.
Kershaw’s decision — his first time in free agency — was not rushed, beginning with the Dodgers not extending a qualifying offer in November, which would have accelerated the process while Kershaw was still recovering from elbow soreness that sidelined him in October.
“Credit to Andrew [Friedman] as well for not having to do the qualifying offer,” Kershaw told reporters on March 13 at Camelback Ranch in Arizona, per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times. “That was really nice … It just gave me time to figure it out.”
Things got further delayed by the 99-day MLB lockout, but the Dodgers were able to quickly agree to a one-year contract for Kershaw on March 11, one day after the work stoppage ended.
Kershaw and the Dodgers finalized the contract after passing his physical on March 13, the day players were to report to major league camp in spring training.
Kershaw will earn $17 million in 2022, his age-34 season, and can earn up to a reported $5 million in performance bonuses.
After a 3.55 ERA and 3.00 FIP in 22 starts in 2021, with 144 strikeouts in 121⅔ innings, Kershaw enters 2022 with 2,670 career strikeouts, 26th all-time. He’s also 26 strikeouts shy of tying Hall of Famer Don Sutton’s Dodgers franchise record for strikeouts.