Everybody knows Clayton Kershaw's future with the Los Angeles Dodgers (and in Major League Baseball) is up in the air once the 2023 season concludes. Kershaw's a free agent this offseason, as he continues to sign one-year deals to enjoy flexibility in his later years.
There's also been enough unfortunate press on the left-hander over the last eight months. He revealed in spring training that he nearly signed with the Rangers. Then, after kicking off a legitimate Cy Young campaign )as it looked like he could remain healthy), a shoulder injury sidelined him for six weeks. He returned and looked great, but then it was revealed his shoulder was still holding him back.
Though the Dodgers continue to perform in spite of their thin pitching staff and still remain within reach of the No. 1 seed in the NL, fans will admit they're worried about the playoffs because of the rotation. The bullpen's rebounded tremendously and is a top unit in MLB, at least!
Bobby Miller is the team's best pitcher at the moment and he's a rookie. Lance Lynn has had flashes of brilliance and complete incompetence. Ryan Pepiot, another rookie, has made a convincing case in his late-season push after battling an oblique injury. Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urías are done.
And then there's Kershaw, who's healthy enough to play but not healthy enough to give the Dodgers exactly what they need, it would seem. So why are we piling on with questions about his future on Sept. 21?
Clayton Kershaw's comments on Dodgers future are bad vibes ahead of postseason
This is not Kershaw's fault. Well, maybe it is. He's too honest of a guy! Stop being honest, Clayton! Tell the media to shove it!
This is the media's fault. Kershaw just returned to the mound after getting skipped in the rotation and getting 10 days of rest. He'll again be pitching on extra rest against the Giants in this upcoming series. It'd be nice if we could let this play out with any further pressure/prodding.
But the left-hander was asked if Saturday would be his last regular season start at Dodger Stadium. What's the guy supposed to say to that?! Why is that a necessary question when this team is battling and battling and battling despite a less talented roster than 2020-2022?
"I don’t know. I really don’t. There’s so many variables. I understand people asking. I totally get that. But I also feel uncomfortable. I don’t want the attention to be on me. If I had an answer, I would tell them. I don’t know yet. I really don’t."- Clayton Kershaw
He also mentioned the state of his shoulder will be a factor. Again, we knew all of this. These are answers we had without having to answer the questions. None of it needed to be amplified as the Dodgers deal with this (among other problems) with the playoffs two weeks away.
Also, how much novelty is the potential "last regular season" start when he'll be appearing in the playoffs at Dodger Stadium? Dodgers fans don't want to remember a hobbled version of Kershaw being nagged about questions regarding his future in what could be his final season as a Dodger. Is that too much to ask?