Yesterday, it was reported that left-hander Julio Urias made the first of Sports Illustrated’s MLB Trade Value lists. He came in ranked at #43. Today, the newest list came out that ranked players from 39th to 21st. One member of the Los Angeles Dodgers was on that list. His name? Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw came in ranked at 21st on the list, and you can sort of understand why he wasn’t listed higher. It’s all based on perceived trade value and contract. His contract is so large and hefty that it basically precludes him from being listed any higher. Still, that’s exceptional for him to be that highly thought of considering he wasn’t even ranked last season.
Kershaw didn’t win the Cy Young award this time around (though he had a pretty good argument for it), but he’s still widely considered the best pitcher on the planet, given his rare combination of top-of-the league track record and youth. Ah, but that contract. The Dodgers have more money than several sovereign island nations, so $163 million (not including performance bonuses) over the next five seasons—or $98 million over the next three, if Kershaw exercises his post-2018 opt-out—poses no problem for their gargantuan payroll.
The list for the final 20 players will be released tomorrow, and there might be a Dodger or two listed on that one as well considering the team still has Corey Seager, who I’m sure will be a top ten trade value piece on the list. But that’s for tomorrow. Today, Kershaw is on the list.
The left-hander went 16-7 with a 2.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP last season. He managed to strikeout 301 batters while walking just 42. In doing so, he became the first pitcher to fan at least 300 batters in a season since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling both accomplished the feat way back in 2002.
The Dodgers rotation practically hinges upon Kershaw’s dominance at this point, but that tells you just how ungodly he has become as a pitcher. He’s the best in the game at what he does, and there are no two ways about it. While people will look at him coming in at 21st as too low, it seems fair given the contract, which Keri notes. And he’s worth every single penny.