Source: Kershaw agrees to 3-year Dodgers deal

Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement that will see the ace stay with the National League champions for another three years for $93 million plus incentives, a source told ESPN.

Kershaw needed to decide whether to exercise his opt-out. He had been owed $65 million over the next two seasons — the tail end of a seven-year, $215 million extension he signed in 2014.

The 30-year-old left-hander will return to steer a Dodgers rotation that already looks deep, with Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling and possibly Julio Urias also part of the mix. Hyun-Jin Ryu is eligible for free agency, along with shortstop Manny Machado and catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Kershaw stands as quite possibly the greatest pitcher of this century, with three Cy Young Awards, an MVP trophy and seven trips to the All-Star Game through his first 11 seasons.

Few have actually been better throughout history, even in eras when pitching dominated the league. Only 13 pitchers have compiled at least 2,000 innings and sport a lower career ERA than Kershaw’s 2.39. None of them pitched past 1927. Among the 30 after him in the all-time leaderboard, only one pitched past 1930.

But it’s that regular-season prowess that has made his aggregate postseason performance seem so disappointing.

Kershaw has compiled a 4.32 ERA in 152 career postseason innings, a substantive sample size littered with maddening highs and lows. The differential between Kershaw’s regular-season ERA and postseason ERA is the second-highest among those with at least 50 postseason innings, trailing only former Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

His last start was the Dodgers’ last of the 2018 season, when he gave up four runs in seven innings and was outdueled by David Price of the Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series. Kershaw’s fastball averaged only 90 mph on that Sunday night, a snapshot of the decline brought on by an exorbitant workload and three consecutive seasons with back injuries.

His diminished stuff cast doubt about whether Kershaw would ultimately opt out, a decision that at one point seemed like a no-brainer.

When his season ended, he still wasn’t sure.

“I haven’t made the decision yet,” Kershaw said Sunday. “We have three days to talk, between us and the Dodgers, see what happens. And then we’ll go from there.”

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