We travel back in time one week ago and I tell you two things. The first is that the Dodgers would be at camp because the lockout would be over. How shocked and happy would you be? I’d say pretty thrilled.
What if the second thing I told you was that Clayton Kershaw would be back at camp as a member of the Dodgers? I know, I know. I would have jumped out of my seat and screamed too.
On Sunday, the Dodgers made the signing of Kershaw official. Not only that, he was seen at Camelback Ranch playing catch and engaging with fans. Welcome back, baseball!
Kershaw spoke with reporters on Sunday, sharing with us how his offseason went and how he ended up back with the Dodgers.
“It happened so fast, it’s a blur right now,” Kershaw said to reporters. It’s good to be here and be a Dodger again.”
Kershaw said that his decision came down to the Dodgers and Rangers, but ultimately his decision was based on which organization gave him the best chance at winning a World Series in 2022. To no surprise, that team is the Dodgers.
“Once I got healthy it was no secret I was either going to play in Texas or stay here,” he said. “That was a hard phone call. I’m a good friend of Chris Young [Rangers’ General Manager]. At the end of the day, I wanted to be here and win a World Series and I think the Dodgers give me the best chance.”
Andrew Friedman also spoke with reporters, saying that re-signing Kershaw was LA’s biggest priority this offseason.
“Going into the offseason for us, he was the No. 1 priority,” Friedman said to reporters. Keeping Kershaw in Dodger blue was our biggest priority coming in. Through the conversations, we felt confident, but not knowing for sure. Post lockout, he was the first phone call I made . We worked quickly to get it done.”
Kershaw said that the lockout was actually a blessing for him and his wife Ellen. He wanted to make sure that his elbow would be okay and that he wouldn’t make a decision until it was at 100 percent.
Prior to the ending of the regular season Kershaw exited a start with left forearm discomfort. It was his fourth start after missing 10 weeks with inflammation and soreness in his left elbow and forearm. He missed the entire postseason, but luckily didn’t need surgery.
“I feel 100 percent health wise,” Kershaw said. “I didn’t pick up a ball until January 1. I wasn’t sure how it would react. I feel great now.”
Kershaw said that he’ll be throwing a live bullpen session tomorrow and that should be a good assessment of where he’s at in his recovery process. He’s optimistic he’ll be ready to go for Opening Day, but didn’t want to say for sure. If not, he said his return will likely follow soon after.
With Kershaw signing only a one-year deal, he was asked about what we can expect next offseason.
“Every year is going to be different, I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll figure it out next offseason.”