When Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw went into free agency last offseason, he was also recovering from a serious elbow injury and coming off his worst season since he was a 20-year-old rookie.
There were questions whether Kershaw would return to the Dodgers, and there were even rumblings that he might consider retirement. Instead, he returned to Los Angeles on a one-year deal and has turned in a campaign that has been marred by injury but outstanding when he’s been on the mound.
That one-year deal means he will be a free agent again this offseason, and Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports that Kershaw doesn’t really know what he’s planning to do. Dodgers President of Baseball Operations has repeatedly made it clear that he wants Kershaw to pitch his entire career in Dodger Blue, and Clayton acknowledges that.
“I’m thankful for that. Andrew and I have a good relationship. I think that’s what the offseason is for. When you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to think about anything else but the Dodgers. Then you go home and you see your kids a lot – I really like doing that too. I try to have as good a perspective as I possibly can. But no matter where you are, you’re skewed one way or the other.”
“I don’t know. Hopefully, Ellen has a better idea than I do. She really knows how to say it and be honest. It’s not that she’s, ‘Hey, I want you to do this. That’s what you’re doing.’ No, she’s, ‘This is what it would be like.’ I just think she gets it better than I do when you’re in the middle of it.”
The 2022 Dodgers are an extremely talented team, and Kershaw and his teammates have their eyes on their second World Series title in the last three years. Might it feel nice to win the Championship and then retire on top?
“Of course. Yeah. But then the competitor in you is, ‘Well, we’re going to be good next year too.’ So who knows? I don’t know what’s going to happen. But if the season ended today and this was my mindset, I would play again.
“But this next month is big. A lot could change. I don’t want to be nailed down.”
Honestly, as long as the decision is between returning and retiring, Dodgers fans would likely be able to accept whichever choice he makes. Just tell the Rangers to keep their hands to themselves.
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