Update on Dodgers pitching rotation and payroll after reported Clayton Kershaw contract | Launderer’s report

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Clayton Kershaw isn’t going anywhere.

The star pitcher will remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2022 season, apparently signing a one-year contract with the team, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network added that the deal was worth $17 million with incentives.

It’s a big blow for a rotation in question after Max Scherzer signed with the New York Mets before the lockout.

Behind Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Andrew Heaney, David Price and Tony Gonsolin are LA’s rotation options. Dustin May is recovering from Tommy John surgery, while Trevor Bauer remains on administrative leave after a woman accused him of assaulting and raping her. Los Angeles prosecutors have not charged Bauer, but earlier reports said he is unlikely to pitch again for the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did it tell reporters Friday that he doesn’t want to “completely shut the door” on Bauer being with the team in spring training. Certainly, Bauer’s future will impact the team’s approach to the pitching staff this season.

But even if he does return, he would still risk a lengthy suspension from Major League Baseball, a factor the Dodgers should consider if they don’t cut ties completely.

If they do the latter, adding another arm in free agency would make sense. The question will be whether the team will be willing to pay big bucks for one of the most important arms left on the market.

Given that Kershaw’s reported salary would take the team to around $231 million in payroll, according to Spotrac, adding more weapons in free agency would push them to the top of baseball spending.

Either way, Kershaw’s return is important. The eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, 2020 champion and 2014 NL MVP didn’t have a vintage season by his own lofty standards in 2021, finishing 10-8 with a 3.55 ERA , 1.01 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings.

His days as a true elite ace might be behind him. Considering he turns 34 this coming season, a decline is inevitable at some point. But his 2021 campaign hasn’t been mediocre and he remains a great option for the Dodgers and a player they’ll be very happy to have back.

The bigger question is how the team will complete the rotation behind him. To be continued on this front.

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