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Clayton Kershaw to re-sign with Dodgers: Southpaw agrees to return for 17th season, per report

Left-handed starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is coming back for at least another season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, having agreed to terms with the club on Tuesday, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Athletic reports the contract includes a player option for 2025. Kershaw is expected to undergo a physical on Thursday.

Kershaw, 35, will be pitching in his 17th MLB season. Injuries have held him to 22, 22 and 24 starts, respectively, in the last three seasons but he’s still been stellar when taking the hill, for the most part. In his 24 starts last regular season, he was 13-5 with a 2.46 ERA (177 ERA+, an identical mark as his 2022 season), 1.06 WHIP and 137 strikeouts against 40 walks in 131 2/3 innings. His velocity was diminished late in the season and he was held to essentially a five-inning pitcher, but he’s still got the swing-and-miss and run prevention numbers to look like an ace. 

Unfortunately for Kershaw and Dodgers, that didn’t carry over to the playoffs. He was nailed for six runs on six hits in just 1/3 of an inning in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks.

A few weeks later, Kershaw announced that he was undergoing shoulder surgery that would keep him off the mound until “next summer,” putting a hopeful return in the middle of the 2024 season. The Dodgers, who have spent the winter adding starting pitching options (including Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow) clearly believe they can continue to navigate Kershaw’s availability concerns. 

In terms of his career, Kershaw doesn’t have a ton left to do, though there is one big milestone right within reach. He has 2,944 strikeouts and only 19 pitchers have ever reached 3,000, making it a more exclusive club than 300 wins (24 players), 3,000 hits (33 players) and 500 home runs (28 players). 

Otherwise, Kershaw’s legacy is pretty well cemented. He’s 210-92 with a 2.48 ERA (157 ERA+, which is the best ever among MLB starting pitchers) and 1.00 WHIP (fourth among MLB starters behind Addie Joss, Jacob deGrom and Ed Walsh). 

He’s won three Cy Youngs and an MVP. He has a World Series ring. He’s won five ERA titles and led the league in strikeouts three times and wins three times. In looking at his Hall of Fame case, he sits 20th in JAWS, not far behind Justin Verlander, Steve Carlton and Gaylord Perry while leading the likes of Robin Roberts, Mike Mussina, Fergie Jenkins, Tom Glavine, Max Scherzer and Nolan Ryan. 

Kershaw is one of the greatest pitchers ever, so we don’t need a qualifier like “one of the best left-handed pitchers of all-time,” but the only lefties ahead of Kershaw in JAWS are Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton and Eddie Plank. 

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