We are still very much deep into lockout season in baseball. Hundreds of players remain in free agent limbo while MLB takes its time restarting discussions for the next collective bargaining agreement.
As it stands, we’re at least a month away (definitely more) from anything exciting happening in terms of player movement. Still, the lockout may be the best thing for long-time Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Or maybe it really doesn’t affect what his plan was for the first half of this offseason.
It has been rumored already this offseason that Kershaw was in no rush to make a decision on his next contract. His primary focus first is on his health after an injury ended his season early for the first time in his career. Sports Illustrated recently opined that health will be the biggest determining factor in what kind of deal he gets this winter, but really the biggest factor will be what the three-time Cy Young award winner wants next in his career.
As in, where he wants to play.
He can return to Los Angeles and continue to add to his legacy as the best pitcher in the history of the franchise (more on that debate coming later this winter). Or he can pick up the pieces and try a new challenge elsewhere.
On the Dodgers’ side of things, Andrew Friedman has said that if Kershaw wants to come back, they’ll figure something out. Clayton’s hometown Texas Rangers are also heavily in the mix for the future Hall of Famer’s services.
One bold prediction could see the 33-year-old possibly remain home for the first month or so of the 2022 season before pulling a 2007 Roger Clemens and making a mid-season return. Of course, there has been no actual indication of a move like that, it’s just purely speculative on my part. Such a move allows Kershaw more time to rest and recover from an October PRP injection into his injured forearm/elbow area and slowly build back up early in the spring. Moreover, it frees him and the Dodgers from the pressure of trying to make an opening day start.
As long as health allows him to, Clayton Kershaw will be pitching in 2022.