Los Angeles Dodgers signing Kershaw was the right move

Joel W. Cade
Oct 1, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) throws against the Milwaukee Brewers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) throws against the Milwaukee Brewers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Los Angeles Dodgers signing Clayton Kershaw to a one-year deal was the right move. But was it the best move for a team looking to compete?

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to a one-year contract, effectively bringing him back for one last hurrah. The one-year deal signals that Kershaw’s time with the Dodgers may be coming to an end. Was this signing a good move for a team looking to compete in 2022?

This past offseason was filled with rumors of Kershaw departing for the Texas Rangers or retiring. It also saw Kershaw’s childhood friend win a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams. Did you hear that Kershaw was childhood friends with Matthew Stafford? Yes, it has been one of those offseasons.

Back in 2007, I had the pleasure of watching Kershaw pitch for the Great Lakes Loons. His curveball was amazing. It was offset by a plus fastball. But he had not yet developed the dominant slider that launched his career toward the Hall of Fame.

Now that his career is winding down, his curveball is still amazing, but the control is not quite what is used the be. The fastball is not as fast. And the slider? The slider is there, but not as dominant as it once was. Kershaw has hit a point in his career where he must adapt or die.

And how can we say it is not? He has only pitched 180 innings over the past two seasons. He is no longer the twenty-something phenom that rocked the National League. The beard is a little longer, not to mention a little grayer.

Dodgers signing Clayton Kershaw for one last hurrah?

We all change. We all grow up. Pay our taxes. Plan for our retirement. We grow long in the tooth. Some young college graduate comes along looking to make a name at our expense. All the while, we try to hang on long enough to get our kids through college. It happens.

But the way a star player leaves a team matters. Yes, we root for the name on the front of the jersey, but the name on the back is important, too. The last season is not simply a matter of money between a team and a player. It is chance for the fans to say goodbye to a player who has brought us joy in sports bars and living rooms.

Will Kershaw ever be the dominant player he once was? Maybe. If the stars align and his arm feels good for one night, the magic might return. On that night, we will remember why we bought all those No. 22 jerseys.

Was this the best move for a team looking to compete in 2022? Probably not. You never really know what you are getting when he gets on the mound. But it was definitely the right public relations move to bring back 22 in 2022.

facebooktwitterreddit