Los Angeles Dodgers: Is retirement a viable option for Clayton Kershaw?

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 /
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The popular belief is that there are two teams with a viable chance at retaining Clayton Kershaw. It is felt that he will either return to the Los Angeles Dodgers or join the Texas Rangers to be closer to his family. Other teams may be involved, but they are on the periphery at best.

There is also another option that may be on the table that no one has really discussed. As Kershaw has indicated that he wanted to take some time with his wife to figure out what the best plan forward would be, retirement has to be considered as a possibility.

Retirement an actual option for Los Angeles Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw?

Although Kershaw is no longer the pitcher he once was, he is still a solid top of the rotation arm. He posted a strong 3.55 ERA and a 1.019 WHiP in his 121.2 innings, striking out 144 batters with only 21 walks. With that performance, it was no surprise that he was considered one of the top pitchers available in free agency.

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But there are concerns. Kershaw will turn 34 years old before the start of the 2022 season and was shut down twice last year due to forearm issues. While he did not undergo Tommy John surgery, he did have a PRP injection and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.

Health has been a major issue with Kershaw over the past few years. He has not made 30 appearances in a season since 2015. It is almost a given that he will miss at least a month of time at some point during the year. As he ages, and more mileage is added to his arm, he could miss even more time.

One has to wonder if it is worth it for Kershaw. He has established himself as one of the best pitchers of his generation, someone who is seemingly a lock for the Hall of Fame. An eight time All Star, three time Cy Young winner, and the 2014 NL MVP, he has nothing left to prove. Kershaw was able to bag that elusive championship in 2020. All he has left are personal milestones that may not hold the enticement they once had.

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Clayton Kershaw is expected to choose between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers in free agency. But retirement may be an option as well.