On Tuesday, Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman reported that, after some suspense that might've seen Clayton Kershaw leave LA for the first time in 16 years and head to the Rangers in his native Texas, the iconic lefty will instead be coming back to the Dodgers. The deal has yet to be officially announced, as the Dodgers are presumably waiting until they can place Kershaw on the 60-day IL so as to avoid a corresponding roster move, but reports confirmed that he and the team have agreed on a new contract.
More details have come through following that reporting, including one that will says Kershaw will get the option to pitch in the same rotation as Shohei Ohtani come 2025.
Andy McCullough of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that Kershaw, 35 now and 36 by the time he takes the mound again, may not be retiring at the end of the 2024 season. His new contract will include a player option for 2025. If he exercises it, the Dodgers' rotation that year would indisputably be the best in baseball.
Clayton Kershaw's new Dodgers contract includes a player option for 2025
The excitement of re-signing Kershaw could be easily tempered by the player option, though. If he chooses not to exercise it, it could start up another storm of rumors and "will he go to Texas?" questions if he doesn't retire. If he does stay with the team through 2025, though, that would put him in a rotation with Shohei Ohtani, Walker Buehler, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, and possibly would allow him to fill out a six-man with Bobby Miller, with Emmet Sheehan possibly subbing in for some starts. If they can stay healthy and rehab goes well, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin might also be ready to go, giving the Dodgers a slew of All-Star pitching options to turn to by 2025.
This is best-case scenario, and one that won't seem far off if the Dodgers can win the World Series or at the very least make a deep postseason run. Kershaw will get at least one more chance to shake off whatever curse has been placed on him. Surely, he was able to exorcise it from his system after last year's NLDS?
No matter, the Dodgers have plenty of starting pitching depth that could back him up anyway. If all goes well, it'll stay that way and get even better in 2025.