The winter of 2023-2024 will be an intriguing one for many reasons. The Dodgers have been linked to just about every top-tier player via trade or free agency — one of whom is possibly the greatest baseball player of all time, Shohei Ohtani — and they have something to prove after a second early playoff exit in a row.
All eyes will be on the Japanese sensation for the next couple of months as we wait to see where he will land. However, even though all eyes will be on Shohei, there are still a ton of storylines surrounding the Dodgers, including Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw.
For the Dodgers, it’s another offseason of sitting and waiting on a decision from the ace. The game of will he retire, will he re-sign, or will he leave for Texas has become second hat for fans over the last few winters. This offseason has a major added wrinkle of surgery performed on the left-hander’s prized left shoulder with a possible return not expected until the middle of the 2024 season.
Surgery aside, a belief grew within the Dodger organization that 2023 was potentially lining up to be his last either way. This according to LA Times insider, Jack Harris.
And while Kershaw has ultimately stayed in LA on one-year contracts each of the past years, there was a growing sentiment among some within the Dodgers organization this year that 2023 would be the pitcher’s last season with the team.(Per Jack Harris via LA Times)
If this is the last we’ve seen of Kershaw, he sure left a lasting memory in the worst way possible. The last time we would have seen him was in Game 1 of the 2023 NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks. If you forgot, Kershaw allowed six hits, six earned runs on 35 pitches, one walk, zero strikeouts, and left the game after recording just one out.
It would be the worst outing of his career, and I find it hard to believe he will go out like that.
In reality, none of us know until the lefty ace says so, and my gut tells me he will be back for the 2024 season with the Boys in Blue. It’ll be hard to see the three-time Cy Young winner in another jersey, and it won’t happen in our lifetimes.
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Photo Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic