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Clayton Kershaw News: Dodgers Do Not Extend Qualifying Offer to Free Agent

For the second straight year, the Dodgers declined to make a qualifying offer to future Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw. When Los Angeles didn’t make a QO to Kershaw last year, health was a major factor — the lefty was coming off a season-ending elbow injury and his future was too uncertain for them to put that kind of pressure on him so early in the offseason.

Kershaw is healthy this year, but Andrew Friedman and Brandon Gomes must have liked the way things turned out last offseason, because they made the same decision.

This is clearly a case of the team putting their relationship with the player ahead of any business considerations. If Kershaw does come back to the Dodgers, the contract will likely look similar to the QO: one year, $19.65 million. Kershaw appreciated the team giving him time last offseason, and if the team’s goal is for Kershaw to come back (which it is), making it clear that you care about him and his family more than a potential draft pick you could get as compensation if he leaves is a smart move.

There’s also a psychological element to it. Now that they’ve declined to make him a qualifying offer two straight years, Kershaw knows the Dodgers have sacrificed something tangible — an actual, real draft pick — for the sake of his comfort. That could be the tiebreaker if he ends up torn between returning for a 16th season in L.A. or playing closer to home in Texas.

Today’s decision by the Dodgers makes it easier for Kershaw to choose the Rangers, but it probably makes it more likely that he’ll make the right choice and come back to L.A.

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