LA Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw will go down in the MLB history books as one of the greatest pitchers to ever step on a mound. His career numbers are remarkable, including an impressive 2.43 ERA. Last year, after multiple close calls, Kershaw finally won a World Series title.
This season the 32-year-old lefty is in the final year of his contract with the Dodgers. In an interview with reporters at spring training this week, Kershaw talked about his future and what lies ahead. Interestingly, he’s not exactly sure what the future has in store, including whether or not he will finish his career in LA.
Clayton Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in MLB history
Since Clayton Kershaw joined the LA Dodgers in 2008, there hasn’t been a better pitcher in baseball. That first season he made 21 starts and finished with a 4.26 ERA. It turned out to be the worst ERA of his career.
Since then, he’s consistently surrendered fewer than three runs a contest each season and led the National League in ERA on four separate occasions. In 2014, he posted unreal numbers with a 21-3 record and a microscopic 1.77 ERA. He won the NL Cy Young and MVP. He’s won the Cy Young two other times (2011 and 2013).
Clayton Kershaw’s individual success has translated into numerous awards through the years, including All-Star honors in eight of the last 10 seasons. He’s been a critical cog in the Dodgers machine that has also made the playoffs eight times in the last decade.
Despite all of those postseason appearances, the World Series title eluded him until last season. Kershaw and the LA Dodgers capped off the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with a World Series title over the Tampa Bay Rays Arlington, just a short drive from his home. Kershaw earned a pair of victories in the Series.
Clayton Kershaw isn’t worried about his legacy in LA
For Clayton Kershaw, winning a World Series title, coupled with his young children growing up and entering school, has made him take a hard look at his future. He admitted as much in a recent interview and his comments raised a few eyebrows in southern California.
With free agency looming after this season for the first time in his career, Kershaw honestly answered when asked about signing a contract extension with the only organization he’s ever played for.
“I don’t know. Honestly, I wish I had an answer,” he told the LA Times.
While Clayton Kershaw acknowledged how fortunate he feels for having had the opportunity to play his entire career with the Dodgers, he admitted he doesn’t care about a legacy.
“So thankful that I’ve gotten to be there, and I would never want that to change. I’ve always loved being there. Playing with one team your whole career is very cool, I think, but legacy’s not important to me on the baseball field. I don’t worry about that.”
Could his future be outside of LA?
Clayton Kershaw’s comments about his future in LA understandably got the attention of the organization and Dodgers fans. During an interview with reporters at spring training this week, the 32-year-old addressed the Times article, and didn’t necessarily alleviate any of those concerns.
“The I don’t know part was not about playing,” Kershaw said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m continuing to play and feel great doing it. I think what I meant was like, I’m on a year-to-year basis. I want to reevaluate at the end of every year and see how we’re doing as a family, myself personally, where we are as a team and then just make a decision from there.”
After Kershaw said he believed he had a few years left in the tank, a reporter asked if that meant a few years with the Dodgers.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Kershaw said initially, then paused. “I don’t know. That’s kind of what I meant by I don’t know. I don’t know what it looks like.”
Whether or not Clayton Kershaw signs a new deal with the LA Dodgers after the 2021 season remains uncertain. What is almost an absolute certainty is Kershaw will again be one of the best pitchers in baseball.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.