It may only be the third of November, but the Dodgers are already getting to work rebuilding their team for the 2019 season. On Thursday, the Dodgers announced that they’d agreed to a one-year deal to bring David Freese back. Then yesterday, the Dodgers announced the news we’d been waiting for: they reached a deal with Clayton Kershaw to extend his contract.
The Dodgers acquired Freese from the Pirates at the waiver trade deadline. They wanted his veteran presence along with his right-handed bat off the bench. But Freese did a whole lot more than that. He hit .385/.489/.641 in his time with the Dodgers. In the postseason, he hit .364/.423/.773 with two homers and 6 RBI.
Freese had a club option on his contract for 2019 worth $6 million with a $500,000 buyout. Instead, the Dodgers and Freese agreed to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million with another half a million added on for the buyout.
While the Dodgers and Freese were working this out, the Dodgers were also busy negotiating with Kershaw. After extending Kershaw’s opt-out deadline by two days, the Dodgers announced that they’d reach a deal for a contract extension. Kershaw is now guaranteed 3 years and $93 million plus incentives.
While Kershaw could have tried his luck on the free-agent market or finished the remaining two years on his contract, he decided that Los Angeles is his second home and the place he wants to finish his career. Along with that, he also wants to play somewhere he knows he will win.
“Honestly, I wanted to stay here,” Kershaw said. “Financial and everything aside, it was more valuable for me to stay here. A chance to win every single year, that doesn’t come around too often. We just decided it was a much better option to work it out here than anything else.”
Although his velocity was down a bit last year, Kershaw still was good. He made a mid-season adjustment and began throwing 50% sliders instead of relying on his fastball. This allowed him to post a 2.73 ERA. With an offseason to work on regaining his velocity and his secondary pitches, Kershaw should be dominant next year.