Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Backs Zack Greinke For NL Cy Young
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Baseball offseason is in full swing as teams are in the process of negotiating new contracts with free agents and/or awaiting the seemingly predetermined response to qualifying offers extended.

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, their top priorities this winter lie in finding Don Mattingly’s replacement as manager, and re-signing Zack Greinke or hitting the free agent market for another elite pitcher.

Greinke opted out of the remaining three years and $71 million on his contract, and was one of three Dodgers to be extended the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer.

The 32-year-old right-hander is coming off the best season of his career, which has Greinke in the discussion, if not the lead, to win the 2015 National League Cy Young Award. It’s a position Clayton Kershaw has found himself in over the last few seasons, though the southpaw this time is likely to finish third in voting.

Kershaw, the three-time award winner, joined ESPN’s Mike and Mike and voiced his support of Greinke to win the Cy Young Award:

“I think I’d have to go with Zack Greinke. I know I’m biased because he is my teammate, but what he did the whole season you can’t discredit. I know Jake [Arrieta, Chicago Cubs] had an amazing second half. You can’t take away from that. He threw a no-hitter against us, so we saw close and personal just how good he is. Just the way Zack pitched, I don’t think he gave up more than one run in a start, it seemed like. Just the consistency he brought, he’s got my vote.”

As Greinke amassed one impressive start after another, he appeared to be well on his way to being named the Cy Young winner. However, Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta had a dominant close to the season, to pull neck-and-neck with Greinke.

Greinke finished the season 19-3 and leading the Majors with a 1.66 ERA, 225 ERA+ and 0.84 WHIP. But due to Arrieta’s strong second half where he went 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA, either one of he pitchers could win the prestigious award.

Arrieta went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, 222 ERA+ and 0.87 WHIP. He led the Majors in wins, and tied for the lead with four complete games and three shutouts.

Kershaw, who had the first 300-strikeout season since 2002, also had four complete games and three shutouts. The NL Cy Young Award winner will be announced Nov. 18.

Should Greinke or Kershaw take home the hardware, it will mark the third consecutive year a Dodgers pitcher wins the award.