Clayton Kershaw is the quintessential Dodger. Drafted and raised up through the ranks of our minor league system, he has been the ultimate superstar our club has needed for decades. Over time players have come and gone. But none have truly been franchise players since guys like Bill Russell, Steve Garvey, and others. With Kershaw many expect he will die a Dodger. Even though he is going to likely opt out after the 2018 season, many experts feel it is a foregone conclusion he will re-up with the Dodgers. That is except for Buster Olney of ESPN:
“I really don’t think it’s going to come down to money…I think it’s where Clayton wants to pitch.”
– @Buster_ESPN on Clayton Kershaw's future
— ESPNLosAngeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) January 11, 2018
Now, there are a number of ways this tweet can be interpreted. First, it could simply be implying that Kershaw doesn’t care about the money necessarily. This could mean either he won’t opt-out because he wants to be a Dodger. Or it could mean he will still re-sign with the Dodgers regardless of what other offers are out there. On the other hand a tweet like this could subtlety be implying that Kershaw could, gasp, sign with another team. It is time for Dodgers Nation to investigate.
Clayton Kershaw Will Re-Sign With the Dodgers
This seems like the obvious choice. How in God’s good green Earth could the Dodgers allow their franchise player to walk away? And I agree with that notion nine times til Sunday. It just does not seem plausible that the Dodgers will let a player of Kershaw’s caliber walk away. Even if it means paying the man $40 million per year. Presently Kershaw is set to make $34.6 million in 2019, and $35.6 million in 2020.
If he decides not to opt-out then he will become a free agent going into his age 33 season. With the mileage on his arm, and him having a few injury issues the last 2 years, it would actually be a poor decision on his part to gamble on 3 more completely healthy seasons pitching at his usual Kerhaw levels. $35 million per year right now is literally only a salary a pitcher like Kershaw could command.
Even with that in mind, it’s most likely he will opt-out after this season. At 30 years old, an 8 or 9 year contract, at around $37-39 million AAV isn’t a stretch, and quite frankly would be a good contract to give to him.
Kersh Does the Unthinkable and Signs Somewhere Else
Yeah, I know. This seems highly unlikely, but we must at least entertain the thought of it. If Kershaw were to, in the extremely unlikely, most likely impossible, event sign somewhere else, where would he sign? Well the first and most obvious answer would be the Texas Rangers.
He is a Texas boy born and raised and it has been speculated before that the Rangers would be the only other place Kershaw would consider. If by some voodoo witchcraft the Rangers managed to find a way to accommodate nearly $40 million of their payroll to one player, it would be Clayton Kershaw. In the end, it doesn’t really seem like a likely scenario that Kershaw would forgo a club with such potential for success, for a club with such an uncertain future.
Next on the list would be a number of the usual suspects. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs all top the list of potential big spenders that may see their names pop up in rumors. Other clubs like the Astros or Cardinals could always come into the picture. But each one of their clubs have numbers of reasons why Kersh won’t sign with them.
Ultimately He Will Re-Sign With the Dodgers
In the end though, let’s be honest: Kershaw isn’t going anywhere. For one thing the front office would have an absolute revolt against them if they let Kershaw leave. And not only that but the Dodgers offer Kershaw the best chance at that final accomplishment for his already storied career: a World Series title. The man has multiple CY Youngs, an MVP trophy, and numerous other accolades.
But one still eludes him: The Commissioner’s Trophy. Hopefully, the front office recognizes the absolute once-in-a-lifetime talent that Clayton Kershaw is, and pays the man what he is worth after the 2018 season. But hopefully he won’t have to wait longer than this next year for that final piece of hardware, he so desperately craves.