The Los Angeles Dodgers could not survive the World Series with their ace on the mound in what could be the last game Clayton Kershaw pitches as a Dodger.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were outmatched in the 2018 World Series. The Boston Red Sox were the best team in baseball all season long and the Dodgers squandered every chance to make this series more competitive than it was.
Game 5 might not have been as heartbreaking as Game 7 last year, but there was as overwhelming somberness to the contest. Outside of the woeful offensive approach and overall uncompetitive game, fans knew that with a loss it could be Clayton Kershaw‘s last game as a Dodger.
Kershaw, 30, has an opt-out clause in his contract. Kershaw can either opt out of his deal, making him a free agent, or opt into his deal, which is for another two seasons worth $65 million. Despite having a down year, Kershaw is still only 30 and there will be teams willing to pay him his due.
Kershaw does not strike me as someone that will leave for money like Zack Greinke. He also strikes me as someone that cares about winning. Money is money, but if the same offer is available from the Dodgers as is the San Diego Padres, he likely will stay in LA.
However, he does strike me as a family man that loves his home; that home being Highland Park, Texas — a suburb of Dallas. Highland Park High School, where Kershaw attended, is just 23 miles away from Globe Life Park in Arlington.
We don’t know what Kershaw is going to do. The Dodgers present the better chance of winning but the Rangers could build something around Kershaw and establish a new narrative. Nobody knows what Kershaw will do, including Kershaw himself.
Whatever happens, we have three days before his opt-out decision, which seems like a no-brainer. From there, it is just a matter of if the Dodgers want to match whatever hefty price tag another team offers the southpaw.
I cannot imagine Kershaw in anything but Dodger blue; but then again, nobody could imagine Albert Pujols outside of St. Louis.
Either way, I took the time to write this column as a thank you to Clayton Kershaw. He will probably never read this, as there will be pieces littered throughout the web with the same basic narrative.
Thank you, Kershaw. For ten years of brilliance, for being blessed to watch the most dominant pitcher pitch every five days, for a no-hitter that was one of the greatest games in baseball history, for winning Game 1 of the 2017 World Series behind a gem that I was able to witness in person.
There were plenty of ups and plenty of downs. Sometimes the postseason criticism was not fair. Sometimes the run support was lacking and other times the St. Louis Cardinals had your number. We have seen your arms in the air in the signature Kershaw pose, as well as the hands on your knees, watching a home run fly out of the seats.
It all comes with part of the game and nobody should have ever expected you to be perfect. And that is what made you so special. That no matter what happened, no matter what the score was, that you would battle like it was Game 7 of the World Series.
That even after allowing a comeback in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series you came out of the bullpen and gave the offense plenty of chances to come back. That after getting rocked in Milwaukee in the 2018 NLCS you spun a gem to give the Dodgers a decisive 3-2 lead.
That even when your team offered literally no run support on Opening Day you went out and gave Dodgers the lead by yourself.
Clayton Kershaw is the backbone of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise. He is one of four players to be on the Dodgers for all six years of this NL West streak; he is the only Dodger from the 2008 and 2009 NLCS appearances.
He has been there through everything, seen everything and has still proudly worn Dodger Blue on his chest.
Most importantly, Kershaw is an ideal role model. No bad press, no questions of performing enhancing drugs. Replace those things with Kershaw’s Challenge, Kershaw’s nonprofit organization that has raised over $6 million since 2011. Who knows how much more of his own money Kershaw has put into charitable causes.
Kershaw is still one of the greatest pitchers in the game. He is a great teammate, a great role model and I am sure he is a great father and husband. Kershaw is a Dodger. You could cut open his arm and thick Dodger Blue will flow like a wave at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw deserves the best wherever he goes. And if he does go, Dodger fans owe him their utmost respect. He may bleed Dodger blue, but it might just be time in Kershaw’s life to bleed Ranger blue.
But then again, this might only be the beginning and Kershaw might return with the ultimate goal still in mind. Either way, thank you, Clayton Kershaw, for ten wonderful seasons.