When Clayton Kershaw posted about his shoulder surgery and expected return in 2024, Los Angeles Dodgers fans figured he's be re-signing at some point. Though he probably won't be back until July or August, what better place to rehab than the only organization he's ever known?
But then MLB insider Ken Rosenthal expressed some doubt this week as the Tyler Glasnow trade rumors heated up. He said Kershaw could "conceivably come back, but he's a free agent, and I've written about the Texas Rangers' interest in him." That doesn't indicate he's leaving, but it's certainly not a vote of confidence he'll be returning.
Admittedly, the Dodgers have a lot to figure out at the moment. They have a full 40-man roster, so any addition they make must come with a corresponding move to jettison somebody else. On the Kershaw front, he's probably taking his time like he has the last few offseasons, too.
But ... then the left-hander appeared on AM 570 LA Sports to speak with Dodgers insider David Vassegh and fans perhaps got a completely different vibe. Kershaw seemed a bit out of character with his responses and offered little clarity.
Now we're wondering ... did the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes/signing end up frustrating him? Don't forget, he was among the Dodgers that were not happy with Ohtani's first free agency tour back in 2017.
Clayton Kershaw's comments create doubt over return to Dodgers (and shade Ohtani)
Kershaw was obviously joking, but he said "The top secret mission is over? They figured it out?" when referring to the Dodgers signing Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million contract. Justin Turner, who was also among those vocal about Ohtani wasting the Dodgers' time back in 2017, had a tweet of his own that seemingly took a shot at the organization.
More importantly, however, he added that he was still thinking through his future in MLB and the options he has. But then he kind of contradicted the "future" part of it because he said he was looking forward to pitching in 2024 and that he wants to win another World Series.
You know who just won the World Series and essentially has the same roster? The Rangers. You know who's choked out of the playoffs four out of the last five seasons and whose lone championship since 1988 came during the shortened 2020? That would be the Dodgers. Just connecting the dots, that's all.
Kershaw's undoubtedly partially to blame for the Dodgers falling short. He has a disappointing postseason resume, but the cast around him has seldom delivered since 2019. The offense has gone silent at the worst times. The pitching staff has melted down similarly. The front office then gradually deconstructed the winning 2020 roster over time to make room for Ohtani.
Perhaps Kershaw's feeling a certain way now that the Dodgers could theoretically invest $1 billion in Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and it'd be hard to blame him. It'd just be disappointing to see him go out the way he did and accomplish his few remaining career milestones in a different uniform.