Dodgers to re-sign Clayton Kershaw

The Dodgers agreed to a new contract with the free agent lefty Clayton Kershaw, To Joel Sherman and John Heyman of the New York Post. Today, Thursday, he is undergoing a health check. Kershaw, a client of Excel Sports Management, underwent shoulder surgery in November and is expected to be sidelined for the second half of the season. Thursday is the first day the Dodgers will place a player directly on the 60-day injured list, so it looks like he'll go straight to the 60-day IL (where he could join other injured hurlers). Tony Gonsolin And Dustin May)

Assuming he can suit up at some point in the second half, the 2024 season will be Kershaw's 17th pitch for the Dodgers, who were the No. 7 overall pick in the 2006 draft. Injuries have begun to plague Kershaw, who hasn't reached 30 starts in a season since 2015, but the quality of his results has remained largely unchanged. From 2009-15, Kershaw averaged 32 starts per year, won four straight ERA titles and won three Cy Young Awards. Since 2016, he's averaged just 24 starts per 162-game season, but has maintained a career-best 2.55 ERA — including sub-2.50 marks in three of the last four seasons.

Kershaw hasn't pitched at 100% for most of the 2023 season. A shoulder spasm hurt Kershaw in July, and manager Dave Roberts openly admitted in September that he was playing at less than full strength. Los Angeles limited Kershaw to five innings per start, except for one start in his return from the injured list (a 5 1/3-inning outing in his final appearance of the season). Along the way, Kershaw's average fastball hit a career low; He averaged just 89.4 mph on the fastball when he returned — including an 88.7 mph average over his final four starts.

Despite his limited speed, Kershaw was very effective. He turned in a pristine 2.23 ERA in eight post-IL starts. Both his 22.2% strikeout rate and 11.1% walk rate were a ways off from his pre-injury levels (27.7%, 6.3%), but Kershaw looked to take advantage of what he had to offer on any given day. He didn't allow more than three runs in any of those final eight games, and actually held opponents to one or zero runs in six. The D-backs snuck him in for six runs in the first inning of his only NLDS start, however, ending his season low.

It's still unclear when Kershaw will be able to rejoin the Dodgers staff, though they will provide an update when they announce his contract and discuss it with the media. Kershaw's second-half return would provide some high-end insurance for an uncertain Dodgers rotation. right hand Yoshinobu Yamamoto He will be adjusting to a new culture and a new league in his first campaign this year. right hand Walker Buehler He is in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. South James Paxton There is a perennial injury risk. Youth rights Bobby Miller, Emmett Sheehan, Gavin Stone And Kyle is injured Not pitching full big league seasons.

As already mentioned, Kershaw can't be the only second-half addition for the Dodgers. The aforementioned May underwent a Tommy John correction and flexor tendon repair in early July, but could return for an extended run. Gonzoline, who underwent Tommy John surgery in late August, feels like a long shot to make it back, but could do so in a bullpen capacity if his rehab plays out in a better situation.

The Dodgers are set to pay the luxury tax for the third straight season, and they're already on the final leg of the luxury tax penalty. Therefore, Kershaw would be taxed at 110% on any dollar. That won't be a hindrance as they welcome back the future Hall of Famer for a 17th season.

Over 2712 2/3 innings in his big league career, Kershaw has a 210-92 record, a 2.48 ERA, a 27.6% strikeout rate and a 6.3% walk rate. He was a ten-time All-Star with five NL ERA titles, three Cy Young Awards and one National League MVP award.

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