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Dodgers: MLB Writer Believes LA Should Sign Clayton Kershaw Long-Term Before Corey Seager

Who would you extend first?



The Dodgers are just a year away from what could be a dramatic roster change. As of right now, there are 6 guys from the current roster that could hit free agency and leave Los Angeles following the 2021 season. 

Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Chris Taylor will all be playing in the final years of their contracts in 2021. Corey Seager is playing in his final year of arbitration before hitting free agency. AJ Pollock and Joe Kelly both have option years, though Kelly’s is a team option. While the Dodgers will probably pick up AJ’s option, it seems unlikely that they would want to pay Kelly $12 million in 2022. 

With that in mind, Los Angeles has to start thinking about extensions for guys they want to keep. MLB writer Will Leitch recently wrote an article pinpointing 1 guy from each team that needs to be signed long-term. Instead of highlighting Corey Seager or Chris Taylor or any of the young guys, Leitch instead chose Clayton Kershaw. Here’s why: 

There are more free agents coming down the pipe (Kenley Jansen, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager), but Kershaw comes first. He essentially has to retire a Dodger now.

The Dodgers signed Kershaw to a 3-year deal worth $93 million back in 2018, replacing the final 2 years he had on his last contract. Los Angeles gave him a deal that was worth $31 million a year despite him taking a step back in every metric, including fastball velocity. 

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Obviously, no player has come to mean more to the Dodgers fanbase over the years than Clayton Kershaw. If anyone deserves a contract that makes him retire in Los Angeles, it’s certainly him. But overlooking the need to extend Seager does seem to be a mistake on the part of Leitch. Maybe he just meant that Kershaw would be easier to extend at almost 33 years old?

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Pollock’s 2023 option is for $10M, but if he opts out he gets $5M. If he continues to produce he will likely opt out, take the $5M, and get more money elsewhere. Dodgers should trade Pollock now. As much as I want Kershaw to be a lifetime Dodger, it is more important for the team to sign Seager to an extension now than Kershaw.

    • Exactly! Pitching is a strength with very talented young pitchers in the Pipeline. Infielders especially proven hitters in the post season are very valuable. The Dodgers need Seager more than they need Kershaw going forward.
      I think Kershaw is a first ballot HOF player. And I hope he plays his entire career for the Dodgers. But this article talks about the future and who you the Dodgers should sign rating importance and its Seager without a doubt!

    • The Dodgers are in dire need of RH bats and you want to trade perhaps the best one that we have. He’s had an 880 ops since having the plate removed from his elbow and is only making $12 M per year against the cap. On top of that, he lead the team in OPS against left handers among players with at least 50 ABs against lefties last year.

      • Concur with you as far as Pollock is concerned. And as I said before securing a RHB or 2 is a PRIORITY or at least should be. Dodgers won the WS last year but it was also shown how vulnerable Dodgers still may be against good LHP.

  2. Signing Kershaw to another 3 years would be nice but not at his current salary if it is for his baseball contributions over the next three years. Far more important to sign Seager long term unless he is demanding some ridiculous contract. If they don’t get more than a one year contract with Buehler now, they should have agreed to his salary figure. Have to keep him happy and in the fold.

  3. I would agree that Seager is a priority for an extension now and would bet CK would also agree to that about Seager. The obstacle to overcome in getting Seager signed is Boras..

  4. In the old days, Kershaw would have easily spent his entire career as a Dodger, but these days that is a very very rare thing. And It is almost an impossible thing for top line pitchers because their results drop off even more dramatically in their 30s than position players. Assuming Kershaw wants to pitch into his late 30s, it almost assuredly will not be with the Dodgers, or it will be at a significant discount from him current salary. Maybe the Dodgers sign him to a series of two year contracts. But they don’t offer him anything longer.

  5. How many albatross contracts will the Dodgera have? They Can’t sign all of Kershaw, Seager, Bellinger, Urias, Buehler, et al If they want to stay Under the luxury tax. They need to decide which player (s) are crucial to their success.

    • If Dodgers seriously want another WS title in 2021 then they shouldn’t concern themselves too much about going over that CBT for 1 year. Concern of course is how this Pandemic has robbed teams of a lot of revenue due to not having fans in the stands during 2020.

  6. You got to extend Seager. You don’t want him leaving because you spent too much on Kershaw. That just doesn’t make sense. I too want Kershaw to retire a Dodger, but you can’t give him $30mill per year.

  7. Everybody stays Kershaw still the ace,Seager will sign extension if they let Kershaw walk then we might see Kershaw in the hall with different cap like piazza.Remember him.Urias has learned a lot from Kershaw.Kershaw stays period.

  8. Kershaw will win another Cy Young especially with the monkey finally of his back.I see Kershaw getting his second wind.

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