As the clubhouse celebration died down on Tuesday night, Dodger insider David Vassegh caught up with president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the architect of the best team in baseball.
Vassegh asked Friedman about Clayton Kershaw, who threw seven shutout innings in the clinching game and has a 2.44 ERA this year after an offseason of questions about whether he would return to Los Angeles.
Andrew Friedman on Clayton Kershaw: “I can’t say enough about him, and for him to be here and be a big part of what we do and hopefully continue for as long as he plays, is something that I don’t think any of us take it for granted.” — Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 14, 2022
It’s a little throwaway phrase there in the middle, “hopefully continue for as long as he plays.” Friedman is saying what we all believe: Clayton Kershaw should never wear a big-league uniform that isn’t the Dodgers.
Dave Roberts told Kirsten Watson after the game, “When you think of the Dodgers, you think of Clayton Kershaw.” If you go to Baseball-Reference’s Dodgers franchise page, you see photos of legends, heroes, and Hall of Famers, but the first photo you see is Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgers Top 24 Players by WAR. Source: Baseball-Reference.com
Kershaw’s quantity has been down this year; two separate injured list stints have limited him to 103.1 innings pitched. But the quality has been outstanding, with a 2.44 ERA that would fit just fine in his peak seasons. And if he can remain healthy for another two months, he has a chance to bring home a second World Series title in the past three years.
After that, the future is cloudy. Kershaw will be a free agent again after this season, and the siren song of playing close to home with the Rangers will always be there. But let’s face it: Kershaw isn’t going to the Rangers. Kershaw has known almost nothing but winning in his 15-year career; he’s not going to spend his twilight years with an organization that spent a gazillion dollars only to be terrible and fire their manager and team president this season.
Clayton Kershaw should be a Dodger for life. We know it, Friedman knows it, and Kershaw knows it.
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