A future Hall of Fame career doesn’t happen overnight. For Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw the level of excellence displayed throughout his career and still playing at an All-Star level is all the evidence needed to bring him back for one more season.
To still be considered an elite pitcher after 15 seasons in the league shows the attention to detail and preparation that MLB players can only hope to achieve. However, as players begin to grow older they have to learn how to adapt and prepare in different ways.
Kershaw takes each year in stride and as he learns to adapt with age he keeps one thing in focus, winning a championship. The mentality Dave Roberts has continued to see grow and remains impressed after all the great years from Kershaw so far (via The Athletic Baseball Show).
“Obviously he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer,” Roberts said. “Driving is to win a championship, another one. I think with Clayton, the thing that I’ve seen as far as growth is, he’s more, kind of, open to where his body is at. And it doesn’t take away from his desire or compete, but I think he’s just more self-aware that you just can’t go as hard as you can for as long as you can and expect it to just be there.”
Kershaw is aware of how much his body can take over a long and grueling season, but it takes a whole team to succeed. Roberts also takes into account of how to utilize Kershaw for the most important moments of the season.
“And so we’ve managed his body, his innings really well. And I think he’s agreed with that, supported that. So when he does get on the mound, it’s, like you said, vintage Clayton. But to expect him to go out there and throw 200 innings, I don’t think that we expect that, nor Clayton. But to have him ready for the postseason is sort of what we’re all aligned with.”
With Kershaw coming back to the Dodgers on another one-year deal it once again keeps the door open for retirement. This can very well be the last season Kershaw plays baseball, but his desire to win remains at an all time high as he searches for his second championship.
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