When MLB free agency started again on Friday, players, executives, and agents all knew that teams would be focusing on pitching.
The problem, for teams looking to acquire some arms, is that there were only two top pitchers in the market: Carlos Rodon and Clayton Kershaw.
It was announced, on Friday afternoon, that Rodon had agreed to terms with the San Francisco Giants on a two-year, $44 million deal with an opt-out clause after this season.
One of the two truly reliable, game-changing starters, was off the market.
During the afternoon, the rest of the league got some bad news, although it wasn’t anything unexpected, to be completely honest.
The remaining ace-caliber starter will apparently be off the market soon, too.
“There is heavy industry expectation that Clayton Kershaw will return to the Dodgers for the 2022 season,” ESPN insider Buster Olney tweeted on Friday.
There is heavy industry expectation that Clayton Kershaw will return to the Dodgers for the 2022 season.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 11, 2022
A Dodger For Life?
Of course, when Kershaw hit free agency, most of us thought he would eventually return to the Dodgers: he has played his whole career there, with highs and lows, and built one of the most impressive resumes for a pitcher.
He has won Cy Young awards, an MVP award, and the most important recognition of all: a World Series in 2020.
But this (projected) move is not necessarily about his past.
Even at 33, Kershaw remains highly competitive: he pitched 121.2 innings last year, earning a 10-8 record, a 3.55 ERA, 144 strikeouts and a 1.02 WHIP.
He did have to endure some physical issues with his throwing arm, as a forearm problem took several weeks off his season.
He seems healthy now, so the Dodgers will apparently keep him around.
During the offseason, there was some chatter Kershaw was going to pitch with his hometown Texas Rangers, but it looks like he will be retiring as a Dodger, as he should.