The Dodgers are just a year away from what could be a dramatic roster change. As of right now, there are 6 guys from the current roster that could hit free agency and leave Los Angeles following the 2021 season.
Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Chris Taylor will all be playing in the final years of their contracts in 2021. Corey Seager is playing in his final year of arbitration before hitting free agency. AJ Pollock and Joe Kelly both have option years, though Kelly’s is a team option. While the Dodgers will probably pick up AJ’s option, it seems unlikely that they would want to pay Kelly $12 million in 2022.
With that in mind, Los Angeles has to start thinking about extensions for guys they want to keep. MLB writer Will Leitch recently wrote an article pinpointing 1 guy from each team that needs to be signed long-term. Instead of highlighting Corey Seager or Chris Taylor or any of the young guys, Leitch instead chose Clayton Kershaw. Here’s why:
There are more free agents coming down the pipe (Kenley Jansen, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager), but Kershaw comes first. He essentially has to retire a Dodger now.
The Dodgers signed Kershaw to a 3-year deal worth $93 million back in 2018, replacing the final 2 years he had on his last contract. Los Angeles gave him a deal that was worth $31 million a year despite him taking a step back in every metric, including fastball velocity.
Obviously, no player has come to mean more to the Dodgers fanbase over the years than Clayton Kershaw. If anyone deserves a contract that makes him retire in Los Angeles, it’s certainly him. But overlooking the need to extend Seager does seem to be a mistake on the part of Leitch. Maybe he just meant that Kershaw would be easier to extend at almost 33 years old?
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