Los Angeles Dodgers’ iconic pitcher Clayton Kershaw, 35, has undergone shoulder surgery. He expects to return next summer, quashing retirement speculation. Now that he’s a free agent again, the question is what kind of contract the Dodgers will offer him. It will be interesting to see if he stays with the organization he has been with for 16 years since his debut in 2008.굿모닝토토
Kershaw announced on social media on Thursday that he underwent surgery on his left shoulder that day. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neil Ellatrache to repair the left shoulder joint, glenohumeral ligament and joint capsule.
Kershaw was placed on the disabled list after meeting with Dr. Ellatrache on June 28 after feeling pain in his shoulder following a pitch against the Colorado Rockies. He rested for a few weeks to prepare for his return, which he did on Aug. 11, but his four-seam fastball average velocity had dropped a noticeable 2-3 mph.
Even the command of his primary weapon, his slider, was shaky, raising concerns about the lingering effects of Kershaw’s injury. He ended up pitching the worst game of his career in Game 1 of the Division Series, giving up six runs in ⅓ of an inning. The Dodgers ended fall baseball on a down note as they were swept in a three-game series by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kershaw, who has been linked to retirement due to a bad shoulder, announced the surgery today, saying he hopes to return at some point next summer. Kershaw, who is a free agent after signing a one-year, $20 million contract with the Dodgers, is expected to remain with the Dodgers or head to his hometown team, the Texas Rangers.
MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, reported that “In a season-ending press conference, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said the Dodgers will bring Kershaw back next season if he and his wife, Ellen, decide to do so,” but that “Kershaw could decide to go to the newly crowned World Series champions to stay close to his Dallas home.
The local paper, the LA Times, said, “The Dodgers need to offer Kershaw a multi-year deal. If they don’t, they could lose him,” and “They shouldn’t just wait for Kershaw to decide. The Dodgers need to aggressively make it clear that they want Kershaw the most. Kershaw has been on a one-year, short-term deal with the Dodgers for the past two years.
“The reason we want Kershaw back with the Dodgers is that he can still pitch well. He was 13-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 24 starts this year while earning a $20 million salary,” comparing him to $20 million starters Miles Mikolas (35G, 9-13, 4.78), Charlie Morton (30G, 14-12, 3.64), Joe Musgrove (17G, 10-3, 3.05) and Hyun-jin Ryu (11G, 3-3, 3.46).
Furthermore, the LA Times reports, “Texas’ home stadium, Globe Life Field, is a short drive from Kershaw’s home in suburban Dallas. In the past few years, Kershaw has spent significant time away from his wife and four children. Team strength, which was one of the reasons Kershaw didn’t sign with Texas, is no longer an issue. Texas is now a World Series champion, and Kershaw, who has always wanted to play for a championship team, hasn’t ruled out a move to Texas.
The LA Times continued, “The Dodgers need to be aggressive with Kershaw. They can’t wait until he’s ready to pitch. They’d be wise to offer him a multi-year deal so he can focus on rehabbing next season,” emphasizing that “Kershaw playing for Texas is like Sandy Koufax playing for the New York Mets or Kobe Bryant playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves,” and that it’s not easy to imagine.
Finally, the LA Times concluded, ‘No matter what Kershaw decides, he will remain an iconic Dodger. There will be a plaque in Cooperstown and a statue of him outside Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers still need to remind themselves that Kershaw can be more than that. The Dodgers have argued for re-signing Kershaw, saying they need his presence as much as his pitching.