After a significant forearm injury prevented Clayton Kershaw from pitching in the 2021 playoffs, he became a free agent for the first time in his career.
Already facing a long rehab process despite surgery not being required, Kershaw’s decision for his future was aided by the MLB lockout. He eventually agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a one-year contract for the 2022 season.
Kershaw completed that deal with his health intact and quickly re-signed with the Dodgers on another one-year deal.
As Kershaw once again deals with some health concerns heading into a third consecutive foray with free agency, he’s expected to take a deliberate approach with evaluating the future, according to Andy McCullough of The Athletic:
This year, he told The Athletic, he will take longer to decide.
Kershaw’s decision-making process for 2024 may also entail getting his left shoulder examined. He missed more than one month during the regular season because of an unspecified injury.
Prior to that point, Kershaw was putting together another strong season and anchoring a Dodgers starting rotation that had been decimated by injuries.
Despite some struggles in September, Kershaw finished the year 13-5 with a 2.46 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 1.06 WHIP in 24 starts this season. Unfortunately for the future Hall of Famer, his final time on the mound in 2023 was in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, which was Kershaw’s worst start of his career.
What will Clayton Kershaw decide in free agency?
Like in previous years when he became a free agent, Kershaw is expected to decide between re-signing with the Dodgers, joining his hometown Texas Rangers, or retiring.
When asked if this offseason would be different than years past, Kershaw acknowledged that likely was going to be the case.
“I think so,” he said after the Dodgers were swept in the NLDS. “Well, yeah, but I’m not going to get into it. We’ll see. I’m not sure. I don’t know how to answer that right now.”
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