The Dodgers don’t owe Clayton Kershaw anything
except for gratitude for being the HOF pitcher he has been. I read a tweet yesterday by a former Dodger that the Dodgers need to do right by Clayton Kershaw. I have no idea what this means. During the time that Clayton Kershaw helped lead the Dodgers to six straight NL West Divisions and two straight NL pennants, they have paid him $164,000,000, with an additional $70,000,000 on the books over the next two years. The Dodgers have already done right by Clayton Kershaw.
Clayton can opt out of his contract by this Wednesday, if he does so he will be leaving that $70,000,000 on the table. Supposedly the Dodgers and Clayton are in discussions about his future contract.
I guess one could argue that the Dodgers would benefit from Clayton Kershaw staying for the next two years and being paid $70Million to do so. I would not be making that argument, I’ll leave that for others.
He not only isn’t what he was but he hasn’t pitched over 175 innings since 2015 and given it is a back issue, it is doubtful he ever will again. His velocity took a noticeable dip in 2018 and it ain’t coming back. Even with the reduced velocity he was still very effective but do you really want to bet $70Million he can replicate that success over the next two years? I’d love to have Clayton remain a Dodger I just don’t think it is reasonable to pay him twice his value to make it happen. I mean I’d pay twice his value if that meant paying him 10 Million instead of 5 Million but 35 Million instead of 17 Million seems a bit steep to be paying for sentimental value.
That being said whatever Clayton does is a win-win for me. It is not my money. If Clayton walks, I think having him off the books will give the Dodgers some flexibility to use that $35 Million spread around instead of focused on one pitcher. If he stays, we keep our homegrown future HOF and still get an above average pitcher even if he’s being paid at an elite level.
What I don’t want to happen is for Clayton to get paid over the next five years as though he is still an elite pitcher. If they extend the contract from the current two to four or five years, I hope it is a reasonable contract for both parties. I doubt this happens. I expect Clayton to either walk or opt-in on his current contract. Ain’t no one going to be paying Clayton Kershaw $35 Million per year going forward except with the current contract he has.
Clayton was the best for a very very long time. We need to be prepared for that not being the case in the near future. It certainly won’t be the end of the world if he walks. The Giants didn’t win a World Championship until the best player of his generation was no longer a Giant. The Dodgers didn’t win a World Championship during the greatest run of a regular season pitcher I’d ever witnessed in Los Angeles. Many have said that is not the fault of Clayton Kershaw, but game five happened in 2017, and that doesn’t hold water. I’m not upset about that. I wanted Clayton Kershaw to hold those huge leads in game 5 for Clayton Kershaw. These are not my Championships that are lost on the mound, they are his, and he worked his ass to get one. I’m just sorry he couldn’t get one. Maybe if he stays he still can, but he won’t be the big boss on the team for the first time in ten years even if he’s still being paid like he is.