News came out of Chavez Ravine today that the LA Dodgers and Star lefthander Clayton Kershaw have agreed to a 3-year, $93-million extension.
First reaction: what the hell?
Don’t get me wrong, Clayton Kershaw is a generational talent and is one of, if not the greatest, pitchers in Dodgers franchise history, and it makes sense for them wanting to keep him around going forward. On the flip side though, it’s a shitload of money to commit to a pitcher who just turned 30. Now, Kershaw has proven that he can still get people out, even with his deteriorating health and velocity.
But there is a caveat. Kershaw hasn’t had a healthy season since 2015. Kershaw has spent time on the DL over the last three seasons with a number of ailments, with recurring back issues being the most common culprit in addition to a bicep strain that cost him 5 weeks this season alone. While Kershaw’s stats still have him as an elite pitcher, his body is starting to fail him. Here’s a chart of Kershaw’s fastball velocity over the years.
Not what you’re hoping to see when giving a man $31 million for the next three years.
The man who Clayton Kershaw is often compared to, Sandy Koufax, had his career end at the ripe age of 31. Could we see a similar situation with Kershaw? Unlikely. But if his play falls off rapidly, then the Dodgers will be on the hook for all that money, as there are no opt-out clauses written in.
This is a big gamble on the part of the Dodgers front office. We’ll see what the future holds.
(Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA Today Sports)