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Clayton Kershaw Re-Signs with Dodgers on 3-Year, $93M Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 30: Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws in the first inning against the Coloarado Rockies at Coors Field on September 30, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw agreed to a new three-year contract Friday that ensures he won't become a free agent until the end of the 2021 campaign, the team announced.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported the deal is for $93 million.

Kershaw had until 4 p.m. ET on Friday to decide if he wanted to exercise or decline the option in his contract. Had he opted out, he would have forfeited $65 million over the next two seasons. 

"Honestly, I wanted to stay here," Kershaw said Saturday, per ESPN.com's Aiden Gonzalez. "Financial, everything aside, it was more valuable to me to stay here. I'm glad we got that done. I talked a lot with Ellen [his wife]. My kiddos love it here, Ellen loves it here, I love it here. I love the team here. There's not many opportunities that meet all the criteria that Ellen and I would be looking for.

"It gives me a chance to prove a lot of people wrong," Kershaw added. "I think this year especiallymaybe rightfully sothere's been a lot of people saying that I'm in decline or I'm not going to be as good as I once was. I'm looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong with that."

The 30-year-old has established himself as arguably the top starting pitcher in baseball.

He has seven seasons with 200 strikeouts or more (and hit 301 strikeouts in 2015), six seasons with a sub-2.50 ERA, three seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA and six seasons with a WHIP below 1.00. He's thrown 175 or more innings seven times and has eight straight years of double-digit wins (2010-17).

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He's led the National League in ERA five times, WHIP four times, wins three times and strikeouts three times. 

He's a seven-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young winner and was the 2014 NL MVP. He was the first pitcher to earn that honor in the National League since Bob Gibson in 1968 (Justin Verlander was the last pitcher to win AL MVP in 2011).

Suffice it to say, Kershaw's value to the Dodgers is astronomical despite a rather inconsistent postseason track record. Overall, Kershaw is 9-10 with a 4.32 ERA across 24 playoff starts, including 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA over 11 innings against the reigning champion Boston Red Sox in this year's World Series. 

Despite those flaws, the Dodgers negotiated a new deal with Kershaw to keep the perennial Cy Young candidate in Southern California. 

If he's able to maintain his elite level of pitching well into his 30s, that will not only be money well spent, but Kershaw may also go down as one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history.      

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