Clayton Kershaw hurled seven perfect innings on 80 pitches in his season debut on Wednesday — before Dodgers manager Dave Roberts lifted him, costing him a chance at the 24th perfect game in history.
The Dodgers are playing it safe after the 34-year-old missed more than two months of the 2021 season with inflammation in his left forearm and had a shortened spring training due to the lockout.
After his three-year, $93 million contract expired this offseason, Kershaw contemplated signing with his hometown Rangers before returning to L.A. with a uniquely structured contract — based largely on his health.
- In March, Kershaw signed for one year, $14.5M with a $2.5M signing bonus, plus the opportunity to earn millions with incentives.
- If he starts 16 games, he’d receive a $1M bonus with an additional $1M for reaching 20, 22, 24, and 26.
- A fourth NL Cy Young would bring another $1.5M ($500K for second or third).
A healthy Kershaw will give the Dodgers three aces in the rotation, along with Julio Urias and Walker Buehler, as they seek a second World Series title in three seasons.
Kershaw has the eighth-best odds (+1700) to win the Cy Young, while the Dodgers have the best odds (+475) to win it all.