Before Game 1 of the NLDS between the rival Dodgers and Giants on Friday night, Los Angeles stalwart lefty Clayton Kershaw addressed his elbow injury and his future with the organization. Kershaw is out for the entire postseason with the elbow issue. It’s the same injury that cost him more than three months earlier this season, but manager Dave Roberts earlier this week said Kershaw has no ligament damage.
While addressing the path forward in his recovery, Kershaw told reporters that surgery isn’t a present consideration:
Kershaw sounds optimistic, which is encouraging, but it’s worth noting that PRP treatments occasionally don’t yield the desired results, which necessitates surgery. This isn’t to suggest that Kershaw’s optimism is misplaced. Rather, it’s to say that Kershaw’s recovery process bears close monitoring.
Also of note is that Kershaw is in his his walk year. He’s in the final year of a three-year, $93 million contract extension, and he’ll be eligible for free agency soon after the World Series ends. For now, though, mum’s the word from the future Hall of Famer:
Kershaw, 33, this season pitched to a 3.55 ERA/115 ERA+ and a 6.86 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. The issue isn’t really effectiveness — Kershaw long ago proved capable of performing at an ace level in the face of velocity loss — but rather it’s health. Kershaw hasn’t topped 200 innings in a season since 2015, and he’s been on the IL eight times since the start of the 2016 season.
No doubt, Kershaw would prefer to stay with the organization that he’s been a part of since he was drafted with the seventh overall pick in 2006, but it’s not certain he’ll receive an adequate offer from the Dodgers. For now, though, the focus is on repeating as World Series champions. There’s a long winter ahead to sort out the rest.