The Dodgers have many players going into the free agency market. The most notable of that being Clayton Kershaw.
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Kershaw has earned the right to call himself a Dodger legend. While his 3.55 ERA is nothing to look over, it is considered an uncharacteristic year for him. In Kershaw’s career, he’s been able to maintain a 2.49 ERA which is utterly ridiculous.
Kershaw is closing in on the likes of Koufax
If you compare Kershaw from age 20-33 and Koufax from age 19-30, it’s astounding the dominance that Kershaw has been able to achieve. Kershaw’s ERA of 2.49 is better than Koufax’s 2.76 ERA. Of course, we must also mention that Koufax had 137 complete games and 40 shoutouts in that span compared to 25 and 15 for Kershaw.
The qualifying offer would have been worth $18.4 million for one year. There are two train of thoughts as to why the Dodgers did not extend a qualifying offer to Kershaw. Of course, both routes are very polarizing.
No qualifying offer works better for Kershaw
Either way, Kershaw stands in a really great position. With the Dodgers declining to offer him a qualifying offer, other teams will not need to give up a draft pick and potential international bonus pool money. Should Kershaw test the free agency market, his value has now increased.
There has been speculation that Kershaw would like to return home to Texas, specifically the Rangers given their proximity to Dallas. However, his history and legacy with the Dodgers could be a huge driver for both parties to navigate to a new deal.
Dodger fans want Kershaw back but at the right price
The Dodger faithful seem to want Kershaw to stay but at the right price. Kershaw seems to be becoming more injury prone but not more than the league standard. The current Dodger rotation is comprised of Julio Urias, Dustin May and Walker Buehler. That is a great start but they do need about 2 top of the rotation starters and a more mediocre starter.
For comparison, the Dodgers rotation for 2021 was Buehler, Bauer, Kershaw, Urias and May. The Dodgers can look to recreate that rotation by resigning Kershaw and signing the likes of Marcus Stroman. Despite how tempting that might sound, the Dodgers payroll may not lend itself for that.
The Dodgers need to have a plan after Kershaw stays or leaves
The current plan seems likely to be to resign Kershaw at a good value and then test the free agency market with younger starters like Marcus Stroman and Robbie Ray. If the Dodgers don’t resign Kershaw then expect them to be bigger players for Marcus Stroman and Robbie Ray while looking to get a short term deal with Scherzer or Verlander.
Either way, it’s going to be an eventful offseason.