Los Angeles Dodgers: 2018 Review, Kershaw Window Closing?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Dodgers
MONTERREY, MEXICO – MAY 04: Pitcher Walker Buehler #21 of Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers Might Have Seen Better Days From Kershaw, But Buehler Has Arrived

Clayton Kershaw recently signed a new deal to remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Keeping the ace left-hander on staff is the correct move, but some of Kershaw’s trends are troubling.

Kershaw has lost parts of recent seasons due to back stiffness. The wear-and-tear on Kershaw’s back reflected in his DL stints also appears evident in his average fastball velocity.

He averaged about 94 MPH most of his career, but it has fallen for four straight seasons. Many are picking through the numbers and wondering how many more dominant innings Kershaw has left.

The Dodgers had enough pitching to get them through the 2018 season, but management has to be wondering whether they have enough going forward.

Rich Hill is aging and Alex Wood has only one year of arbitration remaining.

Walker Buehler looks like a potential ace, but Julio Urias might never fill the potential he once had. He recently worried about getting back on the mound, let alone dominating.

"“I can’t lie. There was a time when I thought there was a possibility I would never come back to a Major League mound,” said Urias. “Thank God, he helped me get here.”"

The Dodgers will probably lose Ryu as a free agent, and, although they have Kenta Maeda to replace him in the rotation, Ryu is a lefty and Maeda is a righty.

In the bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers received a scare when Kenley Jansen missed time with an irregular heartbeat.

When Jansen missed time during the 2018 season with the heart issue, Scott Alexander and Kenta Maeda stepped in and collected saves. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Dodgers added veteran reliever Ryan Madson near the trade deadline to help out in the bullpen.

Good management and managing helped the Los Angeles Dodgers win the NL Pennant in 2018, but the NL West almost kept them from making the 2018 MLB Playoffs.

The Dodgers have bright spots looking forward to 2019 such as Walker Buehler and a returning Corey Seager coming back.

However, other aging bodies, including Clayton Kershaw himself, make it questionable whether LA can win a World Series with Kershaw anchoring the rotation.

Next. Kershaw gets new deal. dark

Teams such as the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves are young and will only be better and more hungry next year if the Dodgers meet them in the MLB Playoffs again next year.