Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw Thinks A Lot of People Will Need to ‘Step Up’ This Season

As pitchers and catchers reported to spring training last Wednesday, the media also converged on Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, to get their first access to the Dodgers in a baseball setting since October. One of the most popular media targets was future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, whose future with the team was in question when he went home to Texas after LA’s NLDS loss.

But Kershaw is back on another one-year contract for his 16th season with Los Angeles. One of the big topics of conversation in the locker room was the loss of Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger in free agency, among others. The 2023 Dodgers will have a significantly different look from last year’s team; not only are JT and Belli gone, but so are Trea Turner, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Hanser Alberto, Joey Gallo, and a few others.

Kershaw was asked if the energy will change in the clubhouse this year, especially with young guys replacing some of the veterans.

“I think it’s gonna have to. I think there’s gonna have to be some guys that need to step up in some leadership roles. I think there’s gonna need to be some young guys that need to step up and perform well. And I think there’s gonna need to be a lot of guys that need to step up, myself included. We’ll figure that out over spring, hopefully.”

JT was the team leader in a lot of ways, so his role will need to be filled, most likely by an assortment of players. When Kershaw talks about stepping up, there are plenty of guys on the team with the experience and clout to lead, but they’ll need to step into roles where they weren’t needed before because of Turner’s presence. Some of that will likely happen naturally, while other elements might need to be a more conscious decision.

It’s one of the less discussed elements of spring training, figuring out the new dynamic and setting the tone for the team’s season. This year, the theme seems to be “step up.”

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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