The 2023-2024 offseason may become known as the winter of Clayton Kershaw. Certainly, the Dodgers and their ace have faced a fork in the road when it comes to his future a few times over the 16 years he’s put on the Los Angeles uniform. However, this offseason feels like the first time Clayton really could move on.
Whether that means retiring or signing elsewhere remains to be seen.
FOX play by play man and Dodgers primary broadcaster Joe Davis was asked his thoughts on the Kershaw situation in LA. Speaking with TMZ Sports, Davis’s thoughts were not overly surprising.
“I don’t have anything real or specific on where his head is at. I just know that every year he goes into the offseason, not really knowing what he’s going to do next. He doesn’t want to commit to pitching when he’s not certain that he can do it, no. 1 physically. And no. 2, emotionally, you know, being away from his young family. So, he and his wife Ellen are gonna do what they always do and sit down and decide., And he’s there are three options each year at this point. It is, keep pitching for the Dodgers, keep pitching for the Rangers or retire.”Via TMZ Sports
That’s been the play for the Kershaw family for the last few winters. For this winter, however, the possibility of the left-hander retiring seems more real than ever.
Kershaw put together another fine season but missed nearly two months with a shoulder issue for the first time in his career. The issue significantly affected his stuff on the mound and could ultimately most affect his plan for the future. It isn’t the first time he’s entered an offseason in a precarious spot physically. He missed the final month and playoffs in 2021 while dealing with a forearm injury. A player lockout put in place by Major League Baseball amid an impasse during Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations bought Kershaw more time to rest and assess if his body and arm could hold up for another season.
He signed a one year deal back with the Dodgers shortly after the lockout was lifted and put together another Kershaw-esque season in 2022. Following the shock of the early 2022 postseason exit at the hands of the San Diego Padres, Kershaw fairly quickly re-upped with the team for 2023 but at that time there was a feeling of unfinished business in LA.
It may not be the same feeling this time around.
“It’s a pretty simple decision,” Davis added. “But it’s certainly one that a lot of the Dodgers’ offseason plans will hinge on the outcome of.”
Simple in the three choices for Kershaw but perhaps never more difficult for the future Hall of Famer.
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Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports