LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw reached a three-year, $93 million contract extension with no opt-outs with the Dodgers on Friday shortly before he was eligible to end his current deal.
According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Kershaw will get $31 million each season until 2021, plus he can also earn $1 million each for making 24 starts, 26 starts, 28 starts and 30 starts. The left-hander could also receive $1.5 million for winning the National League Cy Young Award or $500,000 for a second- or third-place finish.
Kershaw, 30, had signed a seven-year, $215 million contract in 2013 that included a player option to become a free agent after five seasons. By opting out, he would have walked away from $65 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. The Dodgers enter the free-agent season with a corps of starting pitchers. In addition to Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Julio Urias, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana and Brock Stewart return. Hyun-Jin Ryu is a free agent.
For most of this decade, Kershaw has been the best pitcher of his generation and the greatest Dodgers pitcher since Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, with whom he has developed a close friendship and is often compared.
Kershaw is a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, an NL MVP and a seven-time All-Star. Despite two disabled-list stints this year, he finished with a 2.73 ERA -- good for fourth in the NL had he thrown enough innings -- and went 6-1 in the second half.
Despite back-to-back World Series appearances, Kershaw still hasn't won a championship, and he was again unable to rewrite the narrative of his postseason struggles by losing Games 1 and 5 in the Dodgers' World Series loss to Boston. Kershaw is 9-10 in the postseason for his career.
In 11 seasons, however, Kershaw has the lowest ERA and WHIP in the live-ball era. He is 153-69 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He has won five ERA titles and has led the NL in wins and strikeouts three times.
The opt-out deadline originally was Wednesday night, but both sides agreed to extend it until one hour before the qualifying-offer deadline in hopes of reaching a contract extension to keep Kershaw with the club that drafted him in the first round in 2006.
Kershaw's decision came after a week of negotiations with the club aimed at finding a middle ground for the franchise's best pitcher in a half-century. His value on the market was complicated by back and shoulder injuries that interrupted his last three seasons and are likely to have contributed to diminished velocity. He adjusted by essentially becoming a breaking-ball pitcher, reliant on his slider.
Ken Gurnick/MLB.com

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