Clayton Kershaw: Dodgers Having World Series Expectation Is ‘Special’

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Clayton Kershaw walked off the field facing a world of uncertainty last season, but after taking several months to recover from a left elbow/forearm injury, he re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a one-year contract.

Coming off a three-year, $94 million deal, and with the opportunity to move closer to his family in Texas, the 2021 season felt as though it could have been Kershaw’s last with the Dodgers.

President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman did not extended the qualifying offer to Kershaw and that allowed him to take all the time needed to make the best decision for himself, and the future.

Although Kershaw was intrigued by the potential of being closer to his Dallas home, he recently said the Dodgers’ World Series expectations were a draw for returning, via the Associated Press:

“We’re a part of something special here, we know that,” Kershaw said Sunday. “The playoffs are an expectation here, and the World Series is almost an expectation at this point. Not a lot of teams can say that, year in and year out,” Kershaw said.

“Sometimes it does not go your way and it hurts, but the chance to be there is worth it. … I wouldn’t trade that for anything. You can’t say that about a lot of organizations,” he said. “You’re even seeing it now; teams are trading guys, teams are getting rid of guys that they probably shouldn’t if they really want to win. Overall, I think it is a special thing to be here.”

The price of loyalty and being perennial contenders at the top of the baseball hierarchy is something Kershaw has come to value in his career. He’s been a part of 10 National League West division title teams, and the organization has routinely been aggressive in maintaining a roster that is among the best in the sport each season.

That remains true again this year, and even with twice going on the 15-day injured list because of back trouble, Kershaw had another effective campaign.

He went 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA, 2.57 FIP and 0.94 WHIP over 22 starts this season. Next for Kershaw is taking the ball this week in one of the first two games of the NL Division Series.

Will Clayton Kershaw retire?

Having only signed a one-year contract, Kershaw faces another offseason of questions. But one possibility that appears to have been ruled out is retiring after the 2022 season.

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