Sources: Kershaw agrees to return to Dodgers

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Sources: Kershaw agrees to return to Dodgers

Left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw, three-time Cy Young Award winner and former National League MVP, returned to the Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached agreement on a new contract, ensuring that one of the best players in franchise history will remain with the same organization he has once pitched for, sources told ESPN on Tuesday. to be confirmed.

The structure of Kershaw's deal is unknown, but the soon-to-be 36-year-old left-hander will undergo a physical at the Dodgers' Spring Training Complex in Glendale, Arizona, over the next day or two. Kershaw will return for at least his 17th season with the Dodgers, but will spend at least the first half of the year recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

Clayton Kershaw will play his 17th season with the Dodgers. Alex Gallardo/AP Photo

The Dodgers can wait. Newly acquired Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow will be at the top of their rotation at the start of the season, and Walker Buehler, recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, will join shortly after. The Dodgers also signed James Paxton during the offseason and locked up Bobby Miller for a spot, with players like Emmett Sheehan, Michael Grove and Gavin Stone also capable of contributing.

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Kershaw was expected to sign with the Dodgers or his hometown Texas Rangers this offseason. The deal was first reported by the New York Post.

Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, MVP and the premier pitcher of his era, has battled numerous injuries and a decline in velocity in recent years, but has still remained extremely effective. The most striking example came at the end of last season, when Kershaw sidelined all of July with a shoulder soreness. When he returned in August, he had trouble hitting 90 mph and the Dodgers placed him on a conservative throwing schedule. He still found a way to post a 2.23 ERA in eight starts over the final two months of the regular season, his 16th with the team.

In his only start of the 2023 postseason, Kershaw struck out six and walked just one in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was set to start again in Game 4, but the Dodgers, a 100-win team for the third consecutive year, lost in three games, marking the second consecutive year they fell to a division rival in their first round. Went out.

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Three weeks later, Kershaw released a statement announcing that he had surgery to repair the glenohumeral ligaments and capsule in his left shoulder, saying, “I hope to return to play sometime next summer.”

Kershaw finished in the top three in NL Cy Young voting every year from 2011 to 2015, during which he led all MLB starting pitchers in wins (88), ERA (2.11) and WHIP (0.93), while he finished third in strikeouts. Stay on. Walk ratio (5.16).

From then on, he was on the disabled list every season, suffering injuries to his elbow, forearm, shoulder, hip, biceps and, most importantly, back. But he continued to thrive with his work ethic and fastball-slider combination that consistently baffled hitters. Kershaw averaged just 138 innings from 2016 to 2023, although one of those seasons, 2020, was shortened to 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he still posted a 2.55 ERA, which qualified as a starter. He is second after Jacob deGrom.

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Kershaw's elusive title finally arrived in 2020, a milestone that certainly took a lot of weight off his shoulders. He has entered each of the past three offseasons with uncertainty about retirement, spending the first few weeks deliberating with his wife and children before deciding to return on a one-year contract.

This offseason played out similarly, but his recovery from shoulder surgery has added an extra layer of uncertainty.

In his 16 seasons, Kershaw has held opposing hitters to a .209 average while going 210–92 with a 2.48 ERA, 2,944 strikeouts and just 669 walks. He also made 39 postseason appearances, starting 32 games, with a 13–13 record, 4.49 ERA, and 213 strikeouts.

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