Andrew Friedman: Dodgers Could Have Unique Approach With Clayton Kershaw In Free Agency
Clayton Kershaw, Junk headband, 2021 NLCS
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers extended the $18.4 million qualifying offer to Corey Seager and Chris Taylor ahead of the deadline, but somewhat surprisingly chose not to do so for Clayton Kershaw.

Injury concerns could have played a role in the club’s decision as the left-hander missed a significant amount of time this past season due to left forearm/elbow trouble. He nevertheless was effective when on the mound, pitching to a 3.55 ERA and 3.00 FIP in 121.2 innings of work.

Furthermore, if the Dodgers extended the qualifying offer to Kershaw, his market in free agency potentially could have been impacted due to the draft compensation associated with the one-year pact.

Given all that he means to the organization, the Dodgers wanted to ensure Kershaw’s free agency would be as smooth as possible. “I think that’s fair. Obviously what he’s meant to this organization, this city,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman answered when asked if he is approaching free agency differently with Kershaw.

“From his standpoint, I think it’s all about what makes the most sense for him, Ellen and their family. Taking off my president of baseball operations hat, there’s something nostalgic and great about Kersh playing with one team and being able to win another championship and having a parade.

“That being said, he’s put himself in this position to go out and do whatever makes the most sense for his family, and we will support that.”

Kershaw has been part of the Dodgers organization since being selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft, and while the two sides presumably would like to continue their relationship, the 33-year-old is not close to making a decision on where he will be playing next season.

“I think he just wants to feel good again and get to a point where he’s healthy,” Friedman said in response to whether he has gotten a sense of which way Kershaw may be leaning in free agency. “I’m sure we’ll have conversations throughout the winter.”

With the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) set to expire next month, Kershaw may very well wait until a new deal is reached before signing.

Dodgers didn’t want to pressure Kershaw

In subsequent comments and after the deadline to extend a qualifying offer to eligible free agents, Friedman explained the Dodgers took into account Kershaw’s desire to not rush any decisions for the 2022 season.

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