2021 marked the end of several storied careers around baseball as well as the likely end of long and fruitful tenures between players and teams. On the east coast, Nationals’ star first baseman Ryan Zimmerman exited Washington’s season finale to tears and a standing ovation. Here on the west coast, Corey’s brother, Kyle Seager had a teary-eyed goodbye during Seattle’s season finale on Sunday.
For some teams, they can afford to set the stage for these moments. Win or lose, they know this is the final game of the season after the final out. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, that’s not really ever the case. The Dodgers play deep into October where every single out counts and where the game and season isn’t over until that final out — regardless of whether the outcome is good or bad.
That means over recent years, some fan favorites and iconic players haven’t had that final ovation as they walk off the field. At least while still wearing Dodger blue.
Rich Hill, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernandez… there are just a few of the more recent Dodgers who fit this description. Now in 2021, it could be a mass exodus for multiple key free-agent-to-be players.
Clayton Kershaw, Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Max Scherzer, and Kenley Jansen are all set to become free agents after the conclusion of the World Series (whether the Dodgers are in it or not).
Real end of an era vibes going on around Dodgertown, USA.
Franchise icon and long-time Dodger closer Kenley Jansen was asked about that feeling on Thursday evening in San Francisco. Whether this October had something of that “last dance” feeling for him and his teammates. The big man chose to focus on the moment.
“I’m not there yet, to be honest with you. All I think is win one game and try to win another championship here in Los Angeles. That’s where the mindset is right now and that time and moment will come when it needs to come.”
Hopefully after a November parade in Los Angeles.
Earlier in the season, Kenley was a little more open with OC Register scribe Bill Plunkett.
“Listen, man, whatever happens, I’m always going to be grateful to the Dodgers’ organization because they took care of my family. They gave me a second chance – from catcher to pitcher. … If this is my last year with the Dodgers, you don’t have any control. You don’t know. If this is my last year, I could go down as a champion again. Let’s win another championship.”
Between Seager, Taylor, Kershaw, Scherzer, and Jansen, let’s be honest. There’s not enough in the Guggenheim bank accounts to keep everyone and not hemorrhage money in luxury tax fees, if those remain a thing in the new collective bargaining agreement this offseason. One or two or all will be gone in 2022 and not a single one will get a proper goodbye on the field.
However, a goodbye at a championship parade would work just fine.