February 26, 2024

Clayton Kershaw has player option in Dodgers deal, could pitch alongside Ohtani in 2025: Source

The 2024 season may not be Clayton Kershaw’s swan song in Los Angeles.

His new contract with the Dodgers includes a player option for 2025, a person briefed on the negotiations said. That clause would allow Kershaw, who is rehabbing from major shoulder surgery and won’t return until later this summer, a chance to spend an additional full season with the team and share the starting rotation with Shohei Ohtani.

Kershaw, who turns 36 in March, opted to return to Los Angeles over joining his hometown Texas Rangers. He is expected to take a physical in Arizona this week, after which his deal with the Dodgers can become official. The financial terms of the contract have not been disclosed. On Thursday, teams can place players on the 60-day injured list, where Kershaw is expected to begin the season.

Kershaw underwent surgery in November to repair the capsule and gleno-humeral ligaments in his shoulder. He began his throwing program last week. It will still be several months before he is able to appear in games, but his new contract affords him an opportunity to contend for multiple titles in Los Angeles. Kershaw also needs only 56 strikeouts to join the 3,000-strikeout club.

Kershaw posted a 2.46 ERA in 2023 while dealing with shoulder problems. He will rejoin a rotation that was rebuilt over the winter. The Dodgers acquired Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow and James Paxton in addition to Ohtani. Ohtani will spend 2024 as a designated hitter as he recovers from elbow surgery. But in 2025, both he and Kershaw could be part of the rotation in Los Angeles.

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(Top photo: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)