Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw Talks Machado, Moving to Bullpen and More

On Tuesday morning, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw called into the Dan Patrick Show. During the 15-minute segment, the ace of the staff talked about a variety of things. Kershaw discussed the latest acquisition of Manny Machado, as well as potentially moving to the bullpen later in his career.

Would you consider moving to the bullpen?

Yeah, I guess so. I don’t want to be bad. If I’m having success at doing whatever I’m doing and I’m still enjoying it, my family still enjoys it, heck yeah I’ll do it. If I’m not pitching well and not enjoying it, no way I do that.

Who tells you you’re pitching well?

The hitters, for one. There’s a level of performance that you expect out of yourself. I’m probably my worst critic.

How does it work when a new guy comes on board?

What I try to do is text them. Shoot them a text and let them know we’re excited to have them. With Manny, he’s been great. Coming from a rough situation to us having a chance to do something. You can tell he just wants to win. He moved over to third no problem. He’s willing to do whatever it takes, which is cool for a guy going into his free agent year that’s a superstar.

Who’s the best player you’ve ever been around?

First name that pops into my head, Manny Ramirez. He might have had a little help, but it was incredible.

Do you remember your debut?

Not really. It seems so long ago. I remember being really nervous, that’s about it. I remember not being able to fall asleep. Rolling around not wanting to be late. Kind of like your first day of school. Jeff Kent and Derek Lowe were there, were looking at a 20-year-old kid thinking ‘what are you doing here?’ Once you start pitching, you worry about that more than your nerves.

When did you realize you were good?

It took me a long time. I was pretty bad for a year and a half. In 2009 I got called into Joe Torre’s office. He was with Don Mattingly. He said I need another pitch. If I’m not throwing my curve for a strike, I basically have one pitch. They said if I don’t figure it out they’d send me down. That was a wake-up call. I learned how to throw a slider. I’m glad they did it, it really helped.

Did you ever try and develop a pitch and then bail on it?

Yeah, changeup, every day. Can’t figure it out. I ask everybody. Any genre of a changeup I’ve tried, it just doesn’t work. I’m not giving up. I throw it every bullpen, maybe it will click one day.

If you could have any fastball, who’s would it be?

I’ve never seen Justin Verlander’s in the box. I’ve been Max Scherzer’s and that’s a different animal, I’d say Scherzer’s. As for a reliever, I’d say Kenley’s. He doesn’t throw it 100 MPH, but it seems like they can’t see it. I’ve seen so many swings and misses at a 92 MPH fastball, I see that and I’m like ‘I want that’.

Who has the best breaking ball?

Charlie Morton’s is incredible. Corey Kluber. Chris Sale’s slider is incredible. I think that’s a product of how he throws.

Whose changeup would you like to have?

Back in the day, Cole Hamels. That was probably the best pure slower speed, not necessarily movement changeup I’ve seen.

When was the last time you felt helpless at the plate?

Pretty regularly. I’d say Scherzer earlier this year. If he threw me an offspeed I might have had a chance. His fastball, I couldn’t.


It’s always interesting hearing Kershaw give a lengthy interview, especially opening up about his future and thoughts on other players around the game. Hopefully the injury bugs are behind him, and he’s ready to show his cy-young form down a crucial stretch for the Dodgers!

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  1. That’s amazing. Thought I’d never hear someone like Kershaw say that he would be willing to go into the bullpen. I had thought that when Hershiser was briefly with the Angels and it took an inning or two to get up to speed, that he’d go to the bullpen. But I reckon he did not see himself at that level. And, since it did take a few innings then, he would not have been an effective relief pitcher. Kershaw negotiates at the end of this season, so he might be willing to take the few extra dollars they offer but not twice what he is making now. He knows he is having an off season. My hat is off to him.

  2. I love Clayton Kershaw! We have been so blessed and fortunate to have watched, enjoyed, and experienced the pitching, of one of the all time greatest, most gifted, & uniquely talented pitchers of our lifetime. I am completely confident that many of his best days are ahead. I will be watching!