Clayton Kershaw: Free Agency For 2024 Presented First ‘Big Decision’

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The Los Angeles Dodgers re-signing Clayton Kershaw was one of their final pieces to an otherworldly offseason for the reigning National League West champions.

It also presented the future Hall of Fame starter with a unique opportunity he hasn’t dealt with in his time with the team.

Kershaw, who turned 36 years old this month, is entering his 17th season, all of which have come with the Dodgers. The difference this year, however, is Kershaw underwent surgery to repair the glenohumeral ligaments and capsule in his left shoulder and still faces a long rehab process.

As the veteran faced some uncertainty, Kershaw said it represented the first instance he needed to make such a noteworthy decision, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“I really never made a big decision in my life,” said Kershaw. “I got drafted by the Dodgers. I married the same girl from high school. I didn’t have many decisions to make along the way. This was really kind of the first offseason where I had some choices to make and it wasn’t easy.”

When Kershaw gets back on the mound this season he will become the longest-tenured pitcher in Dodgers franchise history, passing Don Sutton.

But his status on the roster is different because of the load of talent that was brought in with Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow in free agency, Bobby Miller developing and the return of Walker Buehler from Tommy John surgery.

All of which take a weight off Kershaw’s shoulders, and his expectation level isn’t close to where it’s been for the last decade.

What to expect from Clayton Kershaw in 2024

Speculation with Kershaw’s player option for the 2025 season presents a number of questions because in recent years he’s gone the route of one-year contracts to return to the Dodgers.

Kershaw’s health is perhaps the biggest question mark. The possibility remains that Kershaw might not be available for the 2024 season, a possible indicator that his player option year might be the trigger.

If health allows, he’ll be on the books for a handful of starts. But if Kershaw manages to join the club at the end of July, he conceivably could make around 10 to 12 starts.

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