Still no word on Clayton Kershaw. Zilch on Max Scherzer. Kenley Jansen? Chris Taylor? Corey Seager? Anybody home? What’s going to happen with the Los Angeles Dodgers and how will the roster look in 2022?
The Dodgers could lose 3/5 of their starting rotation, their closer, and two of their best hitters from 2021. This is no joke. This offseason is going to either keep LA’s championship window wide open or slam it right shut for the time being.
Andrew Friedman and the front office are a well-oiled machine and have had this team cruising since 2015 … but you cannot lose this many players and expect not to take a step back the season after. Unless, of course, you’re making a number of other high-profile additions that will supplement the production from these team legends.
In the case of the longest-tenured Dodger (and future Hall of Famer) in this group, we have a bit of an update courtesy of manager Dave Roberts.
Here’s what Roberts had to say about the left-hander’s potential return to LA on MLB Network:
"“I think he’ll be a Dodger. This is just my own opinion that doesn’t carry a ton of weight. I think the relationship that Clayton, that comfort level, that he has with the Dodgers — he grew up a Dodger — Andrew [Friedman] and Clayton have a great relationship and I think that appreciating what Clayton has done, will continue to do. I think not finishing the season healthy, I don’t think that Clayton or Andrew wanted to come to the table, so let’s get Clayton healthy throwing a baseball and get back to the table and work something out.”"
OK … not exactly complete sentences? Sorry about that. That’s just what Roberts said, though. Verbatim. Either way, seems positive! What Dodgers manager knows Kershaw better than Roberts?
(Does Roberts’ opinion really not carry much weight?)
At this rate, the only way Kershaw doesn’t return is if he’s ready to hang up his cleats, right? Perhaps he wants to be closer to home, but does he really want to empty whatever he has left in the tank with the lowly, no-shot-of-contending Texas Rangers? Kershaw’s already a Hall of Famer, but there’s something to be said about bolstering one’s resumé and showing the baseball world you can still pitch at a high level and lead a playoff charge in your mid-30s.
The left-hander wasn’t given the qualifying offer for a reason. The door is open for him to return to the Dodgers at a preferable price — the front office won’t be penny-pinching with their club legend — whenever he wants. The organization seemingly wanted to give him space as he considers next steps with his health and family.
We’ll be waiting, but we’re encouraged by Roberts’ confidence in his commentary.