Dodgers: Looking Ahead to the Monster 2018 Free Agent Class
Kershaw’s Not Done Yet
Clayton Kershaw has been the franchise player for almost a decade now. As it stands, he’ll go down as one of the greatest pitchers in Dodger’s history. I expect he’ll continue to be an elite pitcher for years to come. And he’ll still land on the DL from time to time. Most players do. But let’s not forget that he was on the DL for over a month in 2014 and still managed to win the Cy Young and the MVP award.
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Clayton Kershaw has set the bar so high, that anything short of perfection and people start assuming he’s done. Kershaw just turned 30 in March. You can expect that even if he’s healthy, he’ll lose a few ticks off his velocity as he ages. That’s what generally happens to most pitchers. Guys like Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson were generally considered freaks because… they were freaks. But plenty of great pitchers continued to be elite after losing a few miles off their fastball. I don’t see why Kershaw wouldn’t be the same.
Kershaw is an elite competitor, and the elite competitors learn to adjust. Just imagine if he finally adds a fourth pitch into the mix on a regular basis. Pitchers have been adding pitches to make up for falling velocity since forever. Maybe someone should remind the Dodgers that they have one of the all-time great lefty screwball pitchers sitting in their broadcast booth. Let Fernando pass on the lessons he learned from Bobby Castillo.
The Front Office
The Front Office has shown a propensity for loading up on injury-prone pitchers and then patting themselves on the back for their depth when they shockingly get injured. Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir… all spring to mind. If you’re going to give a player the benefit of the doubt, give it to Kershaw. He earned it. He finished sixth in WAR for pitchers last season and finished in the top three for six seasons before that. He’s proven he’s a major contributor even in years he gets injured.
Next: Even the stats say the Dodgers are just an average team
When current ownership bid for the Dodgers, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported that a source said that Guggenheim Partners “didn’t want to win [the bidding] by a field goal […] They wanted to win by two touchdowns.” Let’s hope they remember that mentality when it comes time to re-sign Kershaw.