Clayton Kershaw is not only one of the most prolific pitchers in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he is also a free agent for the first time in his illustrious career.
While it may seem unthinkable, it is very possible that, in 2022, Kershaw will wear something other than a Dodgers uniform for the first time in what will be his 15th Major League season. On the flip side, it’s also possible that the 33-year-old southpaw and the Dodgers will be able to come to a deal that will allow him to continue his Hall of Fame career at Chavez Ravine.
Let’s look at three teams that could land Clayton Kershaw for the 2022 season
We will start with the most obvious one: The Dodgers. When we last saw Kershaw on the mound, he was walking off after throwing just 1.2 innings on October 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers after a left elbow issue popped up yet again. The elbow was a detriment to Kershaw all season as he made just 22 starts while posting the highest ERA of his career since his rookie campaign.
Questions about his elbow are still raging as the offseason moves along, with Kershaw reportedly scheduled to begin throwing again before Christmas to see how his elbow is progressing after an offseason regimen that included plenty of rest and no surgery.
Remember that the Dodgers didn’t make a qualifying offer to Kershaw. Projections have him signing a one-year, $20 million deal, which is more than the qualifying offer would have been. Kershaw has also seen one-year contracts handed out to Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard for more money than that this offseason.
Los Angeles may eventually cost itself more money to bring Kershaw back, but ensuring his arm health is where it should be is likely more important to the franchise than saving a few million dollars.