Clayton Kershaw Has Just Three Days to Decide Whether to Become a Free Agent

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Clayton Kershaw Has Just Three Days to Decide Whether to Become a Free Agent

Chicago Cubs

As noted in the Bullets this morning, it seems there must have been a change this year for options decisions, which had previously been due five days after the World Series, but now are apparently three days after the World Series. That means decisions on options and opt-outs (which are technically a player option) will be due by the end of the day on Wednesday. (UPDATE: Nope – no change to the rules. Some players are due end of day Wednesday, but those are idiosyncratic to their contract. Everyone else is Friday, as expected.)

That has obvious implications for the Cubs (most pertinently with Cole Hamels), but around baseball, it means there is VERY little time for some huge decisions, like the one facing Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw:

Kershaw, 30, has two years and about $70 million left on his deal with the Dodgers. Even coming off of a two-year decline (ERA climbed from 1.69 to 2.31 to 2.73, with attendant peripherals), and even with injury concerns about his back and his arm, there’s little doubt he could obliterate that total dollar guarantee in free agency if he opted out and sought the highest bidder. But he definitely wouldn’t approach that $35 million AAV, and who knows? Maybe he wants to bet on himself that he can still be elite in two years, which could wind up netting him more overall than if he opted out right now.

… but I still expect him to opt out. Specifically, I expect him to opt out of this deal and straight into a new deal with the Dodgers, his lifetime organization, and a club that will very much want to retain his services. My guess is he gets a few years tacked on at a lower AAV and higher total guarantee, so he gets some extra scratch and added security, and the Dodgers get a lower AAV going forward. Obviously it would be a ton more fun if Kershaw opted out and actually went into a full-on free agency, but I don’t see that happening.

With the Dodgers having reset their luxury tax penalties this past year, by the way, and if Kershaw does sign a new deal that lowers his AAV dramatically (his current deal has a luxury tax AAV of about $31 million), the Dodgers could have all the more money available to go wild in free agency. Be advised.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.