When Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw hit free agency after the 2021 season, he was coming off a season-ending elbow injury that had him spending some of the offseason actually contemplating retirement. When the deadline came to decide whether to make Kershaw a qualifying offer, the future was so up in the air that, out of respect to Kershaw, Los Angeles decided not to make a qualifying offer.
Kershaw eventually re-signed with L.A. and had an outstanding 2022 season, and now he’s once again a free agent. And because they didn’t make him a QO last year, the Dodgers now once again face the decision of whether to offer it this year. (A player can’t receive a QO more than once in his career, so Kershaw would have been ineligible to receive one this year if they’d offered it last year.)
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Tuesday the team still hasn’t decided whether to QO Kershaw this offseason.
#Dodgers Andrew Friedman said decision to give Clayton Kershaw qualifying offer ($19.65m, 1 year) has not been made. Didn't last year out of respect — didn't want to force Kershaw to make accept/decline decision so early in offseason with health very much an issue. 1/x
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) November 9, 2022
With Kershaw fully healthy, a QO might actually be a good way to put just a little pressure on Kershaw for the Dodgers, who can’t really afford to wait all offseason for him to decide like they did last year. Friedman said starting pitching will be a top priority for the team this winter, and they’ll need to know sooner than later whether Kershaw is coming back so they can make other plans if he doesn’t.
Friedman said it wouldn’t feel right for Kershaw to not be a Dodger, and hopefully Kersh and his family agree.
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