The Dodgers are bringing back their longtime franchise ace, agreeing to a deal with southpaw Clayton Kershaw, a source told MLB.com on Tuesday. The club has not confirmed the move, which is pending a physical that is scheduled for Thursday.
Kershaw is set to return for his 17th big league season, though he isn’t expected to be available until sometime next summer after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder following the Dodgers’ loss to the D-backs in the NLDS.
One of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Kershaw is a former NL MVP, a 10-time All-Star, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and a World Series champion. He owns a lifetime 2.48 ERA, and his 157 ERA+ ranks him second in AL/NL history behind Mariano Rivera (205) among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings.
Although his postseason performance has been spotty, most recently allowing six runs while recording just one out against Arizona in Game 1 of the NLDS, Kershaw has had his share of playoff glory as well. The southpaw was instrumental in Los Angeles’ 2020 World Series title run, recording a 2.93 ERA over five starts during that year’s postseason.
Selected seventh overall by the Dodgers in the 2006 MLB Draft, Kershaw has spent his entire career with L.A., debuting in 2008 and contributing to one of the most successful eras in franchise history. With Kershaw leading their rotation, the Dodgers have made the playoffs in each of the past 11 years, winning 10 NL West titles and three NL pennants in that span.
Kershaw was at his absolute apex from 2011-17, making the NL All-Star team and finishing fifth or higher in the NL Cy Young voting in all seven years. Over 207 starts in that span, Kershaw went 118-41 with a 2.10 ERA (179 ERA+), a 0.91 WHIP and a 5.74 K/BB ratio.
The native Texan won his first NL Cy Young Award in 2011 and another two years later. In 2014, he won his third Cy Young as well as the NL MVP Award, going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 239 strikeouts over 198 1/3 innings.
Kershaw has managed to remain highly successful in the face of injuries and diminished velocity in recent years. Over 133 appearances since 2018, he has gone 66-28 with a 2.77 ERA (149 ERA+), a 1.01 WHIP and a 5.09 K/BB ratio.