3 players who can still return to Dodgers after lockout

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: Relief pitcher Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Albert Pujols #55 and pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 after making his career 327th save during their inter-league game against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Dodgers won, 5-3. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: Relief pitcher Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Albert Pujols #55 and pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 after making his career 327th save during their inter-league game against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Dodgers won, 5-3. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

1. Clayton Kershaw

And finally, the best pitcher of his generation. We hope Clayton Kershaw is thinking long and hard about the right decision to make this offseason … because that’s returning to the Dodgers and finishing his career with the team that drafted him. We cannot envision any other outcome.

The left-hander’s elbow troubles in 2021 really threw a wrench in everything. The Dodgers would’ve had no problem offering him another sizable contract had that not happened … and Kershaw probably wouldn’t need time to “think things over” with his family. That got us worried about a potential retirement.

Nonetheless, the Dodgers spoke candidly about Kershaw’s situation and how he knows the door is always open. It came as a surprise he wasn’t given the qualifying offer, but Andrew Friedman explained he didn’t want to put a timestamp on Kershaw’s decision, which had us thinking the Dodgers are confident he won’t be signing elsewhere. It kind of feels like it’s Dodgers or retirement. But we don’t know for sure. Just going based off “the feels.”

The lockout kind of feels like a blessing in disguise for this situation. Kershaw can take his time. The Dodgers can remain in contact and assess their other potential options in free agency and on the trade market as they plan for a worst-case scenario (life without Kershaw). We like our chances, though. The future Hall of Famer is a competitor and likely doesn’t want to go out on the current terms.

Even if he’s only making 20-ish starts, it’s still more valuable than an average arm making 33. Kershaw’s arm simply has to be back for morale. One last go-round. Come on!

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