Dodgers deny Clayton Kershaw qualifying offer amid health concerns

Clayton Kershaw’s left arm helped turn him into the future Hall of Famer with the Dodgers. Now, its health — or, in this case, lack thereof — may have positioned him as a free agent for the first time in his career.

Los Angeles announced on Sunday that it had extended one-year, $18.4-million qualifying offers to Corey Seager and Chris Taylor – but not Kershaw. These offers were due to be extended by Sunday at 5 p.m.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the three most likely scenarios to unfold are that Kershaw either finds a way to sign another deal with the Dodgers, signs with the Texas Rangers — his hometown team — or retires. According to reports, the last option is the most unlikely.

Kershaw didn’t appear in a postseason game for the Dodgers due to a forearm injury that he initially sustained earlier in the season, and emerged again during his final regular-season appearance on Oct. 1. With Los Angeles trailing 3-1 in the second inning of the game, Kershaw was seen by Dave Roberts and a trainer before he left the field.

“It just got bad enough to where I couldn’t keep going tonight,” Kershaw said after the game.

Clayton Kershaw during the NLCS
Clayton Kershaw during NLCS
Getty Images

Four days later, Dave Roberts stated that Kershaw had not sustained ligament damage. However, Kershaw was still sidelined for the remainder of the postseason. He didn’t pitch between appearances on July 3 and Sept. 13 due to the injury, and three starts after his return, it flared up again.

Kershaw has played all 14 of his seasons in Los Angeles, winning three Cy Young awards, making eight All-Star teams, earning the NL’s MVP in 2014 and finally claiming a World Series title last year. He had a career record of 185-84 and was 10-8 in 2021 with 22 appearances and 122.1 innings pitched. His ERA of 3.55 in 2021 was the highest since he started his rookie season.

The Dodgers’ season ended in the NLCS against the Braves, a point they reached with a Wild Card win against the Cardinals and a victory over the Giants in Game 5 of the NLDS. They won 106 games, the same number they did in 2019, and finished with a .654 winning percentage — slightly lower than the condensed 2020 season, when they won 71.7% of their 60 games.

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