Photo courtesy of MLB.com.
Last week I wrote an article about what I think that the Los Angeles Dodgers should do based on how their season has been going. I decided to focus on one particular issue: Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw has the chance to opt out of his contract at the end of this season, and if he does so he will most certainly be the best starting pitcher available.
Kershaw has been amazing during his career, which was spent exclusively with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Well, at least during the regular season.
Kershaw’s career stats:
It’s not the same in the playoffs however:
His Fastball velocity is on a downward spiral:
His K/9 are in decline as well:
In other words he seems to already be in decline.
The Los Angeles Dodgers made the playoffs and won their division annually since 2013, but came away with no championships and only one pennant. I don’t think that their current core is good enough to win a championship or that he’s able to push them through as a “clutch” playoffs performer. As I said before Kershaw can opt out of his contract at the end of this season, and upon doing so will almost certainly expect over $30 million per year for the next 7-8 years. He will be 30 years old when signing that contract.
There are multiple options at their disposal:
1. Do nothing until he opts out and then try to re-sign him.
2. Do nothing until he opts out and then let him leave.
3. Trade him at the trading deadline.
Let’s look at these options more closely:
Option #1 means that they’re giving a potentially record-breaking contract to a player who is no longer durable and that seemingly is in decline. I think that it’s pretty obviously a mistake. Baseball is ultimately a business and despite how honorable it is to be loyal, a bad investment is a bad investment.
Option #2 is a potential consequence of option #1 and isn’t much better. While they avoid giving out a bad contract, they end up losing him for a lottery ticket (draft pick) in return.
Option #3 is the right one in my opinion. They’re not going to the playoffs this year, there are just too many injuries and declines to overcome. Giving him a massive new contract is a bad investment, and if they move on from him they need a lot in return. Option #3 is the way to go. If Kershaw is healthy, then unless he’s pitching surprisingly bad he will have a lot of value. His contract will be an issue but how many contending teams will really pass up on acquiring Clayton Kershaw for the stretch run?
Which option do you think they should take? Let me know in the comments. Also feel free to ask me questions and follow me on Twitter @NeilfromNYC