On Tuesday, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman spoke to the media and explained why the team didn’t extend the qualifying offer to team legend Clayton Kershaw, who became a free agent last week.
It wasn’t exactly shocking, but many felt it was perhaps telling us something that we weren’t aware of. Are the Dodgers done with Kershaw? Is Kershaw considering calling it quits after his elbow injury?
Those are the pessimistic reactions, of course. If we were feeling better about Kershaw’s situation, we’d think this was the easy decision for the team to make because the left-hander is a Dodger for life. Why does he even need a QO? He’s not going anywhere, so the draft pick compensation doesn’t matter.
But Friedman may have hinted at Dodgers fans’ worst fears on Tuesday when he made a comment about Kershaw “taking a little time.”
Is Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw contemplating retirement?
Friedman’s answer as to why Kershaw wasn’t given the QO makes total sense. There’s no need to rush his decision making (he’d have to accept or decline by Nov. 17) and it’s not like he’s keen on going anywhere else. There’s clearly an open dialogue about his standing with the organization and that there’s always going to be a spot for him to go along with a handsome salary figure.
But having to talk to his wife to “figure out what’s best for them”? He’s been with the Dodgers for 14 MLB seasons. It’s clear they’re comfortable here. All we can think is that retirement is potentially on the table thanks to his recent elbow injury, coupled with the multiple ailments he’s dealt with over the last few years.
Kershaw is 330 strikeouts away from the 3,000 mark and 15 wins away from the 200 mark. It’d be a damn shame if he called it quits after 2021, but he’s already a Hall of Famer and finally captured that elusive World Series in 2020.
When you factor in the Dodgers’ hectic offseason that’s about to take place, we also wouldn’t call it farfetched to think Kershaw might want to see what the 2022 team is going to look like, since we can expect some notable departures and important long-term decisions that will shape the next era of Dodgers baseball.
All hope is far from lost on the Kershaw front, but we’d just say brace for the possibility of the 33-year-old opting to spend more time with his family rather than run it back with a potential completely new team in 2022.