For the third straight offseason, Clayton Kershaw is once again a free agent.
Kershaw added a few legacy cementing milestones in 2023, recording his 200th career victory against the New York Mets in April, passing Don Drysdale for second most victories in franchise history, and moving up to 21st all time in career strikeouts.
Kershaw was limited to under 25 starts for the third straight season, yet still posted impressive counting numbers and was named to his 10th career All Star game. Even though he pitched through nagging shoulder issues, his velocity and command issues were displayed in full effect against the Arizona Diamondbacks in October.
Kershaw is expected to miss a majority of the 2024 season while recovering from left shoulder surgery, and he hopes to return to action during the summer. With the repeated letdowns in the postseason and an undisclosed return date, what will Kershaw’s future hold for his career as a Dodger?
Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian of MLB Network discussed where Kershaw will potentially go in 2024 if he chooses to continue to play, with Reynolds noting that the choice for him to return to the Dodgers is evident:
“For me, I don’t think he has anywhere to go. He’s a Dodger... He’s the closest royalty to Sandy Koufax... That’s that level he’s at, so he can’t go anywhere.”
What's next for Clayton Kershaw? pic.twitter.com/ljn4qq8APc— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 1, 2023
Kershaw already admitted that he wants to end his career on a positive note, as he discussed with David Vassegh of AM 570 that his poor ending to the season isn’t what he wants to be his career defining moment.
“I think the competitor in me doesn’t want it to end the way it did,” he said. “I want to win. I want to win another World Series.”
Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times delves into how Shohei Ohtani’s record breaking contract will not only help the Dodgers keep their winning ways in the present and pay huge dividends for the team in the future.
“Most of all, he is giving the Dodgers and their owners the ultimate financial gifts: 1) the ability to save money in the short term by deferring $680 million of his salary until the contract is complete; and 2) the potential to profit off the income that money will generate in the meantime, a dynamic that could transform an already big-spending franchise into MLB’s biggest financial behemoth.”
When the Dodgers re-signed pitcher Orel Hersheiser to a three-year, $7.9 million deal after winning the Cy Young award and World Series MVP in 1988, it spearheaded a chain reaction of massive free agent signing to follow over the next three decades and beyond.
Tyler Kepner of The Athletic breaks down how Ohtani’s contract, just like Hersheiser’s, will eventually bring Major League Baseball to raise the ante on lucrative free agent contracts, and will likely reach the billion dollar plateau in the years to come.
“Now we’re at $700 million, which means we’re $300 million from some player, at some point, making $1 billion in a contract for however long that period is,” said [Dave] Stewart, the former Oakland A’s star, who has worked as both an agent and general manager.
“Brad made it clear he was a Tyler fan. Made sure to use that as much as we could,” said [Erik] Neander. “Got to pull out all the stops to get something like this done.”