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Dodgers: Health Still Biggest Factor in Clayton Kershaw’s Next Move in Free Agency



We are still very much deep into lockout season in baseball. Hundreds of players remain in free agent limbo while MLB takes its time restarting discussions for the next collective bargaining agreement.

As it stands, we’re at least a month away (definitely more) from anything exciting happening in terms of player movement. Still, the lockout may be the best thing for long-time Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Or maybe it really doesn’t affect what his plan was for the first half of this offseason. 

It has been rumored already this offseason that Kershaw was in no rush to make a decision on his next contract. His primary focus first is on his health after an injury ended his season early for the first time in his career. Sports Illustrated recently opined that health will be the biggest determining factor in what kind of deal he gets this winter, but really the biggest factor will be what the three-time Cy Young award winner wants next in his career. 

As in, where he wants to play.

He can return to Los Angeles and continue to add to his legacy as the best pitcher in the history of the franchise (more on that debate coming later this winter). Or he can pick up the pieces and try a new challenge elsewhere.

Related: Corey Seager Revealed He’s Recruiting Clayton Kershaw to Texas

On the Dodgers’ side of things, Andrew Friedman has said that if Kershaw wants to come back, they’ll figure something out. Clayton’s hometown Texas Rangers are also heavily in the mix for the future Hall of Famer’s services.

One bold prediction could see the 33-year-old possibly remain home for the first month or so of the 2022 season before pulling a 2007 Roger Clemens and making a mid-season return. Of course, there has been no actual indication of a move like that, it’s just purely speculative on my part. Such a move allows Kershaw more time to rest and recover from an October PRP injection into his injured forearm/elbow area and slowly build back up early in the spring. Moreover, it frees him and the Dodgers from the pressure of trying to make an opening day start.

As long as health allows him to, Clayton Kershaw will be pitching in 2022.

NEXT: Andre Ethier Explains What He Misses From His Playing Days

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Friedman has said Kershaw has earned, and is entitled to an emotional bump, meaning that the Dodgers will be willing to pay more than the numbers say he is worth. And so, I think the front office will wait to see what’s being offered to him from Texas and elsewhere, and then pay a small percentage more.

    Additionally, the Dodgers should show him tangible signs of respect and gratitude by putting a “C” on his uniform, as the first ever official captain of the team. I think that could be more important to him than the bump in pay.

    • why? he was fine knowing he was #3 at best last year. He won’t get more on a playoff team. He’ll be back if he doesn’t retire

  2. The Dodgers have had captains in the past like Pee Wee Reese. Secondly, I am a major fan of Clayton Kershaw’s, but he is not the best pitcher in the history of the franchise. Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were each better, and there is absolutely no shame in this. Kershaw is easily the third best, and he will certainly join both Koufax and Drysdale in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

  3. Kershaw is an all-time Dodger great, and a sure HOFer. But Koufax was the greatest Dodger pitcher of all time, and one of select few greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

  4. With a 89 MPH fast ball, and having to throw his curves 40% of the time, Kersh will have a hard time in single A ball let alone the majors. How about making him a player manager? He could throw Mop up, he is a intelligent player , he played in the ending era of situational baseball. Knows how to rest pitching staffs etc. He’d be perfect…..

  5. I’m more okay with the Dodgers overpaying Kershaw for past performance than I was for the Lakers overpaying Kobe for past performance because there is a salary cap in basketball and I don’t like any move guaranteed to make the team worse. Unless the Dodgers are targeting 2022 as the year they dip under the luxury tax, I say pay the man.

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