Over the weekend, it was qualifying-offer week for MLB teams. Perhaps Clayton Kershaw, the greatest pitcher of his generation, is the only one to not receive a qualifying offer.
Kershaw is not without its limitations. Kershaw missed the playoffs this season due to a second injury in his forearm. It's not clear what his prognosis is. If it doesn't improve, his offseason could still include surgery. Kershaw and the Dodgers are still open to negotiating a deal for this season and beyond depending on his health. There is a possibility that Kershaw may miss some or all of 2022's season. If that happens, $18.4million would be a great deal.
The Dodgers are the only team that doesn’t have to worry about this.
Kershaw made 22 starts and struck out almost 30 percent of the batters he faced. He also had a nearly 7-to-1 strikeout to-walk ratio and a flat 3.00 FIP. This is all worth the qualifying offer.
After a seven-year deal worth more than $30 million per season, it's difficult to argue that the Dodgers owe Kershaw anything. Kershaw certainly gave them what they paid for, with his 160 ERA+ (100 being the average). Kershaw will forever be remembered as a playoff disappointment due to Dave Roberts' belief in the October video game character theory that all starting pitchers are videogame characters. He was missed by the Dodgers this postseason as they struggled to navigate the NLCS in pitch-black with no feedback.
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Kershaw is most likely to stay in L.A., although it's possible that he could end up somewhere else. It wouldn't add up. It would push the baseball world off its axis just a little bit. It feels like the Dodgers are trying to save money, even though A) they're the only team that has never been concerned about it in the past and that B) Kershaw is the last player that a team should be worried about. Even more so if Kershaw's front office knew.
It is a cold world.