Face it… Kershaw may not love you as much as you love him
A very short one just because 140 characters on twitter doesn’t suffice.
Listen, kids – I want Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers rotation as much as you but… here’s where we differ apparently… the team is more important ultimately than rooting for a good Christian with a wicked curve ball. If – I repeat, IF – Kershaw really, truly wants to test the free-agent waters for whatever reason (perhaps he wants to pitch in NY, or back home in Texas), let him.
If you’ve read my writing over the years you know I feel that signing pitchers – any pitchers – to long-term deals is stupid business. They get hurt, often early on, and the money you’re locked into for years beyond their health and productivity can cripple clubs. It’s not smart to go beyond five years for a pitcher, and as good as he is, a 10-15 year (i.e. “lifetime deal”) for Kershaw would not be good for the Dodgers and ultimately us, the fans.
So the reading impaired of you will scream, “You hate Kershaw! No WAY do they let him go!” or something worse. Well, I don’t have a crystal ball, so it’s possible you’re right and the team feels backed into a corner with this popular fan favorite and really can’t let him go. In which case, you win – but, do you really? Is it winning to get the pitcher and then watch him undergo Tommy John surgery, or worse, a shoulder injury, with upwards of $250M on his new deal?
Think about it – while it’s apples and oranges I know – look how the Yankees now are in a bind with A-Fraud’s contract. I understand Kershaw is the furthest thing from A-Fraud, but the financial implications could be similar. If Kershaw is signed for too long a period of time, it’s quite easy to think he won’t ever live up to the back end of the contract – similar to A-Fraud’s deal, and most likely other massive contracts, such as Albert Pujols.
Hey, it’s not my money, or yours, but it is – sort of. The new TV network has to pay for itself somehow, as do tickets to the games, beer, food, and oh, that parking we all love. The players’ big contracts are paid for by fans’ dollars and Kershaw’s could be an albatross if the Dodgers are lucky and “win” the right to keep him.
Still… you don’t want him to walk. But, what if there is no choice? What if, for whatever reason, Kershaw just wants to test the waters (as he says he may) and the pitching desperate Yankees offer him something absurd? Or Texas. Or Philadelphia, who just got a big TV deal of their own. Boston. Seattle. You get the point. If Kershaw doesn’t want to be here, or wants to be wooed like a girl angling for the prom, then what?
Just TALKING… conversing about scenarios of what I would do (believe it or not, I’m not the Dodgers GM, though sometimes I think I could do a better job) is not wrong. Suggesting trading a potentially fleeing Kershaw for young major league ready talent, and/or blue chips is not wrong. Thinking of eeking one more year out of him in order to potentially win a World Series and then getting a 1st round draft pick is not wrong.
If you believe the rumors that were leaked earlier this off-season, Kershaw was offered the largest contract in baseball history but was intimidated or unsure and didn’t accept it. Whatever the case, I doubt seriously him not being signed today is because the Dodgers don’t want him in blue. The reason is he’s either uncertain he wants to remain in LA, especially for so many years, or just wants to be loved up by all the teams in need of pitching help. Whatever the reason, Kershaw may not love you as much as you love him. In which case, what do you do? Get mad at me for stating what might be done, what perhaps should be done? Don’t shoot the messenger, people. I’m just an elderly therapist who sometimes is a rare voice of reason in a sea of emotional baseball fans.