1. The Ugly: Clayton Kershaw walks off into the sunset
Call this a gut feeling or self-fulfilling negativity, but I don’t think Clayton Kershaw will be pitching for the Dodgers in 2022. Whether he retires as he recovers from his elbow/back issues or heads to the Texas Rangers to be closer to home, these are two very realistic options that have been discussed at length by baseball pundits and insiders.
What makes this so complicated is Kershaw’s age and injury situation. Heading into his age-34, the left-hander is dealing with an elbow issue that could very well affect his output in 2022. It limited him to just 22 starts this past season and he never returned for the playoffs. To make matters worse, players can’t associate with team doctors during the lockout. Why did the owners do this, again?
Before the lockout, Kershaw and the Dodgers did not come to a swift agreement, which isn’t entirely encouraging despite the expedited timeline (with the lockout looming) and the lack of clarity surrounding his elbow. And when the front office said they were expecting Kershaw to take his time and talk over his future with his family, it didn’t have us feeling any better.
With such turnover among the team’s stars, Kershaw not returning feels very real, especially since we know his career might be at a crossroads.