Friday provided some level of closure on Clayton Kershaw’s 2023 season, as the Dodgers left-hander had surgery to repair the gleno-humeral ligaments and capsule in his left shoulder, ending a four-plus month odyssey that started with him leaving his start on June 27 in Colorado.
A silver lining within the bad news is that it doesn’t seem like Kershaw plans to retire just yet. “I am hopeful to return to play at some point next summer,” he wrote in an Instagram post.
In some sense that brings us to the same point as the last two offseasons, with Kershaw a free agent, so it’s whether he wants to return to Los Angeles for a 17th season or stay close to home with the Rangers.
But there’s also the question of just when Kershaw might be ready to pitch in a major league game after his surgery. By the time-honored baseball tradition of always bet the over on how long an injury might last, Kershaw’s hope to return next summer suggests he could be out until perhaps well after the All-Star break.
In Bill Plunkett’s story on the surgery at the Orange County Register, he noted that it might be six months after the procedure until Kershaw can even begin a throwing program, for instance.
There will be a lot of patience required with Kershaw over the next several months, first for when he makes his playing decision for 2024, and then one he might actually be ready to do so.
It was always expected that Max Muncy would be back, as his $14 million club option was an extremely reasonable price given his production. But the Dodgers instead signed Muncy to a two-year, $24 million contract on Thursday, one that includes yet another club option in 2024, the second contract in a row in which Muncy and the team reached agreement on an extension before a pending option decision was made.
Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs examined the Muncy contract, which he found to be very team-friendly.