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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Over/under: Clayton Kershaw's ERA

By David Schoenfield

The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw by agreeing to a two-year, $19 million contract.

Kershaw easily beat out Roy Halladay in the Cy Young voting after going 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts, leading the National League in wins, ERA, strikeouts, fewest hits per nine innings (6.7) and WHIP. He ranked third innings, just four behind Chris Carpenter. He allowed zero runs in 10 of his 33 starts and one run seven times. He even hit .225 -- higher than his opponents' batting average (.207).

All that and Kershaw doesn't turn 24 until March.

So what's in store for 2012? It's hard to believe he can get much better, but he's lowered his walk rate from 4.8 per nine in 2009 to 3.6 to 2.1. The only thing that may prevent him from matching 2011's ERA is that he pitched six times against the Giants -- and went 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA. He started four times against the Diamondbacks and three apiece against the Padres and Rockies, so he may not be fortunate enough to draw the Giants so many times again.

Defensively, the Dodgers ranked as a middle-of-the-pack team (15th in the majors via Defensive Runs Saved). They'll get a full season from Dee Gordon at shortstop and Mark Ellis was brought in to play second. That could be a slight upgrade up the middle.

Let's set the over/under on his ERA at 2.50.