Wednesday was a big day on the baseball calendar, as Dodgers pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in Glendale, Arizona. Soon we’ll be watching the boys in blue play actual (exhibition) games, and before you know it, Opening Day will be here!
But first, the media gets to talk to the players. For some players, the start of spring is the first time they’ve talked to the media since October. Los Angeles pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been here and there throughout the offseason, but we got his first comments on some of the offseason action (or inaction) when he met with the media at Camelback Ranch yesterday.
Specifically, Kershaw was asked about losing Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger in free agency, and he takes a very pragmatic view of the situation.
“I think it was obviously hard to lose JT and Belli. Any time you lose guys that you’ve been around for a long time it’s no fun. But, at the same time, I know Andrew (Friedman) has a good plan for what we’re trying to do. Potentially what we didn’t do during the offseason maybe opens things up at the trade deadline and different things — we can be a little more flexible with what we need to do. Because we still plan on being really good, still planning on being in the thick of it and maybe there’s something there that we can work on if we need to. We may not need to.”
Kershaw was specifically asked how it feels to not see JT and Belli in the locker room there in Glendale, and he talked about why it’s not weird yet.
“I think pitchers and catchers reporting, these guys are usually not here probably at this time, but once we get that full team meeting and look around and not see some of those familiar faces, it’ll be weird for sure.”
Kershaw is obviously quite aware that baseball is a business and team’s sometimes have to make hard decisions for the sake of the future. He’s also seen the other side of things, where LA has basically turned off the business side of things with him and told him, “As long as you want to play, we want you to be a Dodger.”
The good news is, the one thing baseball fans are used to is change. Before JT, Belli, Corey Seager, and Joc Pederson, it was Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, James Loney, and Russell Martin. Or Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey. Or Tommy Davis, Willie Davis, Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, and Sandy Koufax. There will even come a day when Kershaw is no longer on the team, but as long as the front of the jersey keeps saying “Dodgers” on the front, we’ll get used to (and even learn to love) the names on the back.
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