Free agency beginning the morning after the World Series concluded amounted to Danny Duffy, Cole Hamels, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Knebel, Jimmy Nelson, Albert Pujols, Corey Seager, Max Scherzer, Steve Souza Jr. and Chris Taylor no longer being under contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Although the 2020 season was touted by many as being a proverbial ‘Last Dance’ for the Dodgers’ core roster, this winter figures to usher in more change for that group. Arguably the most intriguing cases lie with Jansen and Kershaw, both of whom are homegrown Dodgers.
That holds particularly true in the wake of only Seager and Taylor being extended the $18.4 million qualifying offer for next season. Most anticipated it would be presented to Kershaw as well.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman explained the team did not extend the one-year pact to Kershaw so as to respect his wishes with taking a deliberate approach in free agency, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I think we’ve made it very clear that if Kersh wants to come back he will always have a spot with what he’s meant to this organization – not only looking back but what we think he can do for us next year,” Friedman said Tuesday. “I know he wants to take a little time with Ellen and figure out what’s best for them and also more importantly get to a point where he feels good health-wise. We have no reason to believe he won’t.
“But in his mind, he wants to get to the point where he feels good from a health standpoint and go from there. This (a qualifying offer) would have accelerated the timeline in a way that he wasn’t ready for. With our respect for him and what he’s done for this organization, that wasn’t something that we wanted to do and put him on that kind of clock when he wasn’t ready for it.”
Had the Dodgers tendered the qualifying offer to Kershaw, he presumably would have rejected it but had draft pick compensation attached to him free agency. Of course, that could change under a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will be required after Dec. 1.
Although Kershaw dealt with left forearm/elbow trouble this past season, he was still effective when on the mound, pitching to a 3.55 ERA and 3.00 FIP in 121.2 innings of work with a 3.4 WAR.
Kershaw confident in recovery process
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Kershaw have maintained his forearm injury is with the flexor, and not a damaged ulnar collateral ligament.
Kershaw explained during the National League Division Series that he addressed the injury with a platelet-rich plasma injection (PRP) injection and was confident that and time off would remedy the issue.
“That’s going to be my treatment,” Kershaw said in October. “I’m going to rest and let it heal. I’m not going to get surgery on it or anything. Everybody I’ve talked to, all the doctors and everything, feel good that I’ll be good to go by Spring Training, so that’s the plan. … I just talked to a lot of people and been on the phone a lot.
“I feel good about it.”
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