Tuesday, June 6, marks the 10-year anniversary of the Los Angeles Dodgers drafting Clayton Kershaw. In the decade since, Kershaw has broken records, won numerous awards and exceeded even the wildest expectations set for him.
Yet, that moment in time in 2006 nearly played out very differently. Today, we look back at how Clayton Kershaw became a Dodger…
A Little Bit of History
Clayton Kershaw was not destined to be a Dodger It took a few important events to angle the Texas lefty into LA’s grasps, with the first occurring in the 2005 First Year Player Draft.
The Dodgers didn’t have their first rounder that year as they’d surrendered it to Boston in exchange for signing free agent pitcher Derek Lowe. Los Angeles wouldn’t have had a first round pick at all had it not been for Adrian Beltre leaving for Seattle.
The Dodgers would have picked up the Mariners’ first rounder, but since it was in the top 10, it was protected. Instead, the Dodgers got a compensation pick — 40th overall selection — as well as Seattle’s second rounder.
Heading into draft day, teams’ draft boards became clearer. The top prospects had emerged and the event began. But there was one player who began falling down draft boards: University of Tennessee right-hander Luke Hochevar’s.
Hochevar had been seen as a top-10 talent, but high bonus demands from his “advisor,” Scott Boras, caused his stock to plummet on draft day. The Dodgers, picking low in the first round, felt compelled to take a chance on the talented righty and selected him 40th overall.
The organization knew the hurler wouldn’t be an easy sign, as Boras generally has outrageous demands for his clients; in this case, a Major League contract. The process would seemingly be a long, drawn-out ordeal that came down to the wire when, unexpectedly, Hochevar dropped Boras as his agent and agreed to a $2.98 million bonus.
The Dodgers were elated and sent an area scout to hand-deliver the contract to him. However, when the scout arrived, Hochevar was nowhere to be seen. He disappeared, resurfacing three days later, again being advised by Boras, and decided not to sign the contract, demanding a Major League deal instead.
CONTINUE READING: Kershaw begins to make name for himself