2018 Dodger Questions: Would Clayton Kershaw Leave the Dodgers?

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:

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.


Blake Coble

Born and raised in SoCal and bled Blue my whole life. Absolutely love baseball and absolutely love the Boys in Blue! I have a fascination with analyzing the statistics and trends that drive player performance, and I love following our minor league prospects as well! Active duty Air Force currently stationed in Central California! Follow me on Twitter @yarritsblake


  1. Can Kershaw get a better contract than he has? Doubtful. I think both he and the Dodgers should avoid the whole question and just sign an extension. If Kershaw wants to pitch somewhere else let him leave with our blessing. But paying him more to grow older, less effective and possibly with a bad back would not be smart( see Albert Pujols).

    1. Sure Kershaw can get a better contract. Wait until he opts out and watch the Yankees come knocking. The Yankees are pretty much the only team that can financially outbid the Dodgers if it turns into a bidding war. Like the Dodgers, the Yankees will also be under the luxury tax threshold this year so they’ll have the money. Plus everyone knows that the Yankees need another starter moving away from CC Sabathia next year. Finally, this Dodgers Front Office has shown time and time again their reluctance to sign any player to a long term, lucrative contract, Zack Greinke for example. This Front Office will set a price point. Kershaw will have to agree to that price or walk. The Front Office wouldn’t blink knowing that they have Walker Buehler and Julio Urias either try to replace Kershaw or put together a blockbuster trade for another Ace.

  2. It would be a hard on to swallow if Kersh left but at 40 per for a soon to be past his prime pitcher? Even though it’s not my money, that is just stupid. I truly hope he stays for what is, in today’s world, reasonable money for a pitcher of his caliber and says no to the other big offers sure to come. That would be a huuuuge gesture to the fans and his stature as one of the best Dodgers would grow by leaps and bounds. Now, if he goes to Texas, he will most likely retire without a ring and if he pulls a Greinke and goes to anyone else due to money, well, my respect for the guy would crumble as I expect would many others. At least Greinke had no attachment to any one team. Seriously though, how much money do you need?

  3. An extension is the best option right now. But even if he were to opt out, I’d say give him a five year contract, at least. Kershaw, despite his health issues, should have at least three to four more years of sheer dominance. Of course, he’s expected to digress, but Clayton Kershaw is a warrior. He’s one of those Mussina, Clemens, Maddux, Schilling, Randy, Smoltz types. He is not going to let age turn him into a mediocre pitcher because he is one of the greatest competitors who ever lived, and he’ll give it his all to pitch 200 innings each year and keep his team in it, even if he has an ERA in the high 3.00s, low 4.00s. I say start out with at least a five year contract because we pay him what he’s worth for those 3 years or so of Kershaw (at about 35-40 million), and then slowly 25 million and 20 million for the last two years. We give him those last few years in his new contract to show our faith in him, and once that’s done, we resign him to a 10 million contract for his last couple of seasons. Arguably the greatest Dodger to ever put on the blue uniform should stay with this franchise for the remainder of his years, just like Sandy and Jackie. But of course, that’s just sentimentality. A four year contract is what I would realistically give him, still at 40 million, but after that, if Kershaw won’t accept, then good riddance (it pains me to say that, but being weighed down by such a horrible contract is the last thing anyone wants).

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