LOS ANGELES — The news isn’t official just yet, but things are looking good. Barring a change of heart, it looks like Clayton Kershaw will be back in Dodger blue for at least one more season.
Last offseason was a waiting game with Kershaw as he was a free agent. He didn’t sign before the lockout, so we had to wait months to know if he’d be returning to the Dodgers.
Once again, Kershaw was set to become a free agent this offseason. The Dodgers had the opportunity to give him a qualifying offer, but for the second straight season they declined to do so, allowing him to spend time with his family to really weigh his options.
After the deadline to extend QO’s passed yesterday, I’m sure we were all expecting this decision to take some time once again. Turns out, Kershaw’s decision was apparently already made up.
Just hours after the deadline, it was reported that Kershaw will be returning to the Dodgers on a one-year deal. As of the time of this article, the details of the contract are unknown. That’s fine, because that means we get to see Kershaw pitch in a Dodgers uniform for at least one more season.
2022 was arguably Kershaw’s best season since he finished second in Cy Young voting in 2017. The veteran made 22 starts, posting a 2.28 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 0.94 WHIP and 184 ERA+.
Over his final eight starts, Kershaw posted a 1.60 ERA.
By returning in 2023, Kershaw will have an opportunity to surpass a number of milestones. He’s only three wins away from 200, which barring injury he should reach rather quickly. He is also 193 strikeouts shy of 3,000. That number will be difficult to reach, as Kershaw hasn’t reached that number in a season since 2017. If Kershaw is able to make 25 starts, he’ll need to average 7.7 strikeouts an outing.
Regardless of what happens in 2023, I’m thrilled we get to see Kershaw return for another season. Based on how Kershaw seemed to be more loose in 2022, I honestly thought it was his last season and he just didn’t want to let us know. If next year is his final ride, I’m going to make sure I do everything I can to soak it all in.