Given that Clayton Kershaw has received a one year extension on an already seemingly-bloated option- the total price tag is $93 million for 3 years- it’s somewhat baffling. When Friedman traded Matt Kemp in 2014, it was “business”- they thought he was on the wrong side of 30, injury prone and overpaid. Kershaw has virtually the same baggage, but the Dodgers decide to reward him for what he HAS done. (At least through each September.) What gives??
We all know Clayton Kershaw is a great guy, and one of the greatest regular season pitchers of all time. We also know that AT TIMES, he’s just as great in the postseason. But we are now at a point where for the past DECADE- and yes, 2009 counts- he has been considerably worse in October than he is in the prior six months. We also know that he has back problems, and those don’t tend to get better at age 30.
To be sure, Kershaw has an increasing number of detractors, but nothing close to what just about every athlete on earth of his stature would receive, for continuously coming up short when it mattered most. Chad Billingsley (remember him?) became persona-non-grata with most Dodger fans in 2008, after one bad postseason series against the Phillies. (He did have some fervently loyal fans in the blogging community at the time, but it was a comparatively small portion of the fanbase, especially back then.) With Kershaw, though? With a still impressive number of defenders/apologists, it’s always someone or something else- the Cardinals, the 7th inning, the manager, bad luck, poor defense, poor offense, etc. etc..
And for the record, none of this is “hating”- Kershaw is likely a first ballot Hall of Famer, and deservedly so. If not for him, the Dodgers wouldn’t HAVE all these opportunities to reach the postseason to begin with. It’s just very peculiar that in the often overly critical world of sports, Kershaw continues to receive pass after pass from so many in the fanbase, in the media, and apparently, even in the Dodger front office.
So we’ll see what the future holds for Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. And hey, it’s entirely possible that the Dodgers WILL win a World Series with Kershaw as a part of the rotation- but at best, he will probably no longer be leading it. That honor should now go to Walker Buehler. And $30+ million a year for a #2 starter is an awful lot of money. Lucky for the Dodgers, they can afford to find out.