Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw potentially threw his last game in a Dodgers uniform on Wednesday. And it was a dandy. But nothing is certain, yet, as the ace still doesn’t know whether or not he’ll opt out of his contract with the Dodgers. He has the ability to do so after this season.
“I have not made a decision,” Kershaw told ESPN. “And to my understanding, you get 10 days after the World Series. So, should be a busy 10 days.”
In other words, Kershaw won’t be deciding anytime soon.
The remaining two years and $65 million are the end to his seven-year $214 million extension that Kershaw signed back in January 2014. Should he choose to opt out, he’d hope to stretch his annual average value.
It’s no secret that Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the MLB despite injuries that have recently started to plague him. The pitcher, who will turn 31 in March, has seen disabled list stints, a drop in velocity and fewer strikeouts. Still, he earned a 2.78 ERA during the 2018 season — and maintains his status as Dodgers Ace.
Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, remains focused on the team’s sights on the World Series. The status of possibly one of the most valuable free agents won’t be a concern until much later, he hopes.
“All of our focus right now is on winning the 2018 World Series,” Friedman said. “I think we have a trust and communication in place that allows for us not to spend too much of our time and focus on it right now, meaning us and him. When the time comes, we’ll obviously seek him out and have those conversations. It’s just not front of mind right now.”
There’s only one pitcher who currently makes more than the average $32.5 million Kershaw would accrue over the next two years: his former teammate Zack Greinke. (Greinke signed a six-year $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks.)
In Game 1 of the NLCS, Kershaw lasted only three innings but redeemed himself in Game 5 Wednesday with a phenomenal outing. He allowed one run and struck out nine through seven innings in the Dodgers 5-2 win.
Clayton Kershaw: 8th postseason start allowing 1 run or fewer and 3 hits or fewer.
No one else in MLB history has more than 5 such starts.
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) October 18, 2018
Now, thanks to Kershaw, the Dodgers are one game away from competing in a second straight World Series. And that’s all L.A. cares about right now. For good reason, too.