Let’s Not Panic About Clayton Kershaw’s Injury, But Also Accept Reality

Clayton Kershaw

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that when Dodgers spring training camp in Glendale Arizona open that at least one or two guys will get hurt, be sore, or not report on time. Baseball imitates life. It’s the chaos theory proven at Camelback Ranch. Murphy’s law my friends. So when reports surfaced that Clayton Kershaw was having some arm issues, I wasn’t the last surprised.

Now those issues have turned into honest to goodness shoulder soreness. That’s where the problem is reported, in his pitching shoulder. Apparently Kershaw was trying to regain his lost velocity this past offseason by using some kind of biometrics. Maybe he had some increased workouts and pitching programs as well. Justin Verlander has used biometrics and it worked for him. You would think that Kershaw of all people would be fine.

The description of Kershaw’s injury is rather vague. The Dodgers management is like that with injuries. Unless you are David Vassegh or work within the Dodgers front office, then you may never know the truth surrounding a Dodgers injury. They’ll play this close to the vest. Kershaw originally reported just not feeling right after his first bullpen sessions. Some pitchers are feel pitchers. If they don’t feel right when they throw or make a certain pitch then they won’t be effective. From there is evolved into general soreness in the shoulder. We don’t know a whole lot right now.

This should be expected though. Let’s be honest here. We all love Kershaw but this is his twelfth season with the Dodgers. He’s had over a decade of pitching on his shoulder/arm/back and eight postseason trips including two World Series appearances.

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Kershaw was one of the biggest workhorses in the game for years. Kershaw has had five years of over 200+ innings pitched. But injuries and age have limited him to just 149 innings in 2016, 175 frames in 2017 and only 161.1 innings in 2018. Father time catches up with everyone, including Kershaw.

What I am saying is, don’t panic about Kershaw’s injury. However don’t expect him to be the ace of the staff anymore. He’s still the leader in the clubhouse, on the field and the face of the franchise. But as far as being an ace, well those days are probably behind him.

I’m just saying that don’t expect Kershaw to toss 200 innings anymore. If we can get 150 innings out of him then that’s good. Kershaw is still a really great pitcher, but let’s temper our expectations a big. Projections have him tallying 160 innings this season. The Dodgers are going to have to rely heavily on Walker Buehler to be the ace of the staff when Kershaw is hurt or sore.

The good thing here is that there are no MRIs scheduled. That’s when you know the injury is serious. I think it’s just general soreness. We don’t know exactly what Kershaw was doing or not doing in the offseason. I think it’s time to face the truth. Kershaw is not a kid anymore and he’s entering the latter portion of his career. If anyone can age gracefully, it’s Kershaw. Let’s just hope the Dodgers can keep him out of the old folks home long enough to win a World Series.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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44 thoughts on “Let’s Not Panic About Clayton Kershaw’s Injury, But Also Accept Reality

  1. I thought it was a mistake to extend his contract besides preventing him from filing for free agency and now they are responsible for paying a shitload of money and he probably won’t give LA 250 innings over contract’s life.

  2. No panic. Just disappointment. Wish the FO had seriously looked for a strong starter, instead of wasting time dumpster diving, and assuming that Clayton would be able to resurrect himself, recover from his injuries, and maintain his role as the “Ace” of the staff. Disappointed that the Dodgers offered up such a generous extention, and believing that Clayton would be able to successfully recover from his doldrums. Disappointed that Clayton talked a big story about coming back strong, and convincing the FO that he could, and would be fine. Disappointed that Clayton selfishly took the extension…. but who wouldn’t. It is free money… no accountability!

    I do not think Kershaw has been 100% for the past two years, so I expected that he would be no more than 70% of his original self this year. I believe that Clayton, being the perfectionist, rushed his recovery and ended up overcompensating for his injuries, and injured himself in the process. If we are lucky, Kershaw will be no more than a 4th or 5th starter this year, if anything.

    Now it will be up to the other pitchers to step up and carry the load. Time to let the young “Dogs” take off their leashes, and pitch without restrictions.

    Instead of wasting money on aquiring Harper, they ought to start focusing on finding a realiable starting ptcher to fill the void.

    Funny that one of the adds on this website asks, “How much will you need to retire comfortably? …. Ask Kershaw.

  3. Clayton has a back injury, back injuries don’t go away. The saying in the medical field is “you don’t have back surgery, you have your first back surgery” I can speak from personal experience and two surgeries later, plus RF procedures, and yes I am still very much a back patient. The last two seasons have been borrowed time for Kershaw. We are watching a career coming to a close and very rapidly at that. From this point forward he is going to have many more poor performances than dominating performances.

  4. Totally agree True Blue.

    So questions remain….

    WHY did the Dodgers give Clayton the massive extension to a perfectly generous existing contract?

    WHY didn’t the Dodgers just let Clayton “Opt Out” and go elsewhere?

    WHY did the Dodgers sit on their wallets, when they knew that Clayton could come up lame with injuries.

    We may never know the answers to these questions, ever.

    Really puts the team in jeopardy. All could have been avoided if they played it smart. I’m jus’ sayin’.

    1. WHY are you whining? The team is not in jeopardy only your assumptions are. The Dodgers are loaded with pitching. Just look at the young dudes ready to step in, Ferguson, Urias, Santana, Gonsolin, May, and White. Are you kidding?

      And, with the very real chance to sign Harper, what kind of jeopardy is a team like the Dodgers in? Hahaha

  5. The extension given to Kershaw is directly reflective of the one given to Kobe. Lots of money for a drop in performance based on past performance and the desire to placate LA fans. Yet not addressing the real needs that are sooo obvious. Does this sound familiar?
    The Lakers are still ham strung, and their contracts are not as guaranteed as MLB contracts.
    I love Kershaw but this has doodoo all over it.

  6. I’m the last guy to defend the cheap bastids in the FO, but his extension was 1 year 28 million. They didn’t extend him for a decade.

  7. Kershaw is not the main Dodger topic on the internet right now. Almost all the chatter is about Harper and his next team. The Phillies were thought to be a lock, and then members of the FO went to Vegas and everything flipped the other way. The Dodgers are now considered the favorites to land him. As to the length and amount of money there are all sorts of rumors, and I must stress they are just that, rumors. In order for Harper to become a Dodger they have to A. clear a roster spot. That is the easy part. They can DFA some poor slob who has not one chance in hell of making the ream. B. They then have to figure out what the do with guys like Pederson and Verdugo. This is supposed to be Verdugo’s big chance. They probably could have had Kluber had they been willing to include Verdugo in a trade. But that shot is gone, and when over the last few years has a team traded a major piece this early in the year? I have a pretty good memory and I cannot remember a spring training trade of a star player. C. Where does he play? His defensive numbers are pretty bad, and the universal DH is at least 2 years away. I do not put him in RF. You pretty much need the best arm of the outfielders in right. Move him to left, and I guess that makes Bellinger the regular RF because he is going to play almost every day. An outfield of Harper, Pollock and Bellinger pretty much means that Pederson and Verdugo have no jobs. Taylor and Kike can spell any of those guys. D. What kind of length of contract are we talking? The longest contract in the Friedman era is Jansen’s 5 years and Pollock’s 4 plus 1 option. It is all over twitter, with no conformation by anyone, that LA is going 10 years, 300 million plus with an opt out after year 3. I doubt that happens and I will believe it when I see them schedule a physical and a press conference. It has been known all along that the Dodgers prefer a shorter term deal. What ever happens, it will be happening in the next couple of days.

    1. Michael, as I mentioned on another blog that I simply don’t want to see Harper in a Giant’s uniform. Imagine the fallout of seeing Harper AND machado on divisional rival teams and if Freidman is concerned at all about what may happen to further the reputation he seems to have,then things won’t look too pretty but wss. I have preached for another RHB but in Harper’s case I make an exception.

  8. I think we will live to regret it if Verdugo gets shipped away. CAn you say Deshields for Martinez, for example?

    1. I’m trying to follow your reasoning as to why we would live to regret shipping off Verdugo. Personally, I will not regret anything the Dodgers do as I have no control over it and it actually means nothing to my life.

      Or, perhaps you mean that Verdugo is a better player than Harper? You will have a difficult time convincing anyone of this. Help me out, True Blue.

  9. Supposedly, Harper has 10 year offers from the Giants, Phillies, and the Dodgers, although I find it hard to believe that they would do that. Myself, I am just tired of all the drama and the circus act this has become. If it is this crazy over Harper, who is a good, but not great player, what will it be like when Trout hits the market after 2020? Just sign already. You have taken too much attention away from what is happening on the field…Ya missed one Bluto, Peter was also in the game.

    1. If the Dodgers are now willing to go to 10 years I think it is due to Nolan Arenado signing the extension with the Rockies. I wonder how many people on here who are knocking the front office for the Kershaw extension would have complained if they let him sign with say Houston and he finished top 3 in the Cy Young voting.

  10. Roberts confirmed yesterday that Urias is definitely in the mix to start the year in the rotation. It probably is about time.

  11. Well, only time will tell if Urias will make the starting rotation. Dodgers will no doubt put pitch/innings limits on him… I do not see the FO releasing him from his chains. If he does make the rotation, who will get bumped? I think Clayton will be making several stints on the DL, so if anything Urias would be a great spot starter, when Kershaw is down, middle relief when Clayton is available.

    If Kershaw had opted out and went to Houston, I do not think he would be a threat, and he most definitely will not be in the Cy Young race. I like Kershaw, but would not have missed him if he left. His glory days are long gone, and rocking chair is in the near future.

    Harper is way too expensive. I would be in favor of a short term deal, and not locked into a 10 year deal. Kind of sounds like the Kemp deal that they inked, and had to later struggle to dump. If they happen to get Harper, we will lose Verdugo and/or Pederson…. also possibly Peters, who is playing well in Camelback. Seems Harper is using the Dodgers as a gambling chip to get the Gnats to up thier ante. I think he would prefer to come back home to the West Coast.

    I am not too optimistic about a WS title this year, unless they make a deal for some “Real” ballplayers. The dumpsters are starting to smell at this time.

  12. Well, everybody go back to sleep. Harper is a Phillie! Dummy2 showed again his game. Let em think I will do something but I never will. Too long and too expensive for the L.A Rays.

    1. Dummy 2 in this case was a genius. You want to be saddled with that 13 year contract? No way. And here is another thing, the Dodgers offered Harper 45 million a year for 4 years. That’s not chump change nor is it being cheap. Long term deals like the one Harper is signing rarely work out. Look how hamstrung the Angels are with Pujols. Harper’s offense at Dodger Stadium was not going to play the way it will in Philly. He will hit over 40 a year playing in that park. Trout is a free agent after 2020. I would rather have a player like that than a guy who’s defense stinks. Harper is also a bad clubhouse guy. Let him take that ego and that attitude to Philly and not LA. This also allows the Dodgers to sign their own stars, Belli, Seager, Urias and Buehler to better deals. 4 for 1….pretty good deal in my book. Pack, you need to really look behind the scenes and understand that Harper was not going to make the Dodgers a Champion all by himself. His numbers at Dodger Stadium are pretty bad, and Philly is not winning the series just because they signed Harper. Their starting pitching after Arietta and Nola is pretty thin. Offensively, they will be good.

      1. Bear
        OK, I get it, you didn’t want Harper. How about somebody. These jerks in the FO never want anybody. You know what? The Dodgers can afford more than they are spending. The Red Sox did it and they won the WS. The Yanks are doing it and they will win sooner rather than later. I know you hate to see the team spend money but gee whiz, can they spend something sometime? I don’t mean broken down players either. You cannot compare the Phils to the Dodgers. The Phils are trying to build a team this off season and the Dodgers have had years to assemble one that could win. If they had made trades and acquired FAs at critical times they would have won by now. 5 years is long enough for this F O considering what they had to work with to start with. Also, they will never ever ever sign Mike Trout.

        1. When have I ever said I wanted them not to spend money? You got this all wrong bucco. Harper does not make this team the automatic Champion many think he does. How about this, over the last 3 years, his wRC+ was ranked 22nd in the majors behind guys like Tommy Pham and Matt Carpenter. Sure the Dodgers can afford more than they have spent, but they gave Pollock a 5 year deal for 50 mil, and OFFERED Harper 45 million a year. Dude, that is not being cheap. I am all in that they did not give that clown 13 years. I would rather see them spend some of that dough bucking up the pitching staff. Bellinger is going to be much better in RF than Harper would be. The Yankees have been spending money for years, and they are in a championship drought. The Dodgers had the top payroll in baseball and did not win. Money does not always win titles there Pack. You honestly think that Harper would have the same stats in LA he is going to put up in that Phillie band box? Get real brother. Here is another thing, the first time he pulls one of his pouty acts in Philly, they are going to crucify him. I do not always agree with Friedman, but on this one I am in his corner. Would you rather have Harper? Or see Corey and Buehler walk in a few years? Harper is about as over rated a player as I have ever seen. Yep, he can drive in runs and he has power. But his defense is sub par, and his team mate skills are highly in question.

  13. Package,

    Harper got 13 yrs, $330M, no optouts? What a joke. Phils will regret it. Where will baseball draw the line? These salaries are getting rediculous! At least the Dodgers did not get suckered in. Good thing Dummy2 “IS” cheap!

    Well, that is it for me (actually, for me, it has been “IT” 4-5 years ago), and I am sure a lot of other baseball fans. Look for $500+/per game tickets. Look for $50 hot Dogs. Look for$100 beers…. Not coming out of my pockets.”Bring your own food?”…. well, you still have to buy the tickets AND parking.

    Soon, sticker shock will set in, and fans will wise up…. Yeah right. In my dreams.

    Owners AND Players don’t care about the Fan. Time to burst their bubble and boycott games, don’t you think?

    1. BlueFan
      Yeah, guess you are right. Just think of all the Families coming to the Dodger game at the Ravine, with the kids screaming ” Hurry Dad! If we are late we will miss Verdugo’s 1st AB.

      1. Verdugo is a kid. With a lot of talent, and although he is not going to be hitting bombs into the stratosphere, he might turn out to be a pretty good player. And they would not miss Verdugo’s AB’s anyway because he will not be hitting at the top of the order…it will be some combo of Pollock, Seager, Turner, Joc. or Muncy. There is some pop there. My grandmother fields better than Harper and she is dead.

  14. It will be fun to see how these crazy ass long and expensive contracts work out. So currently we have the Arenado, Manny and Hyper contracts to track, my guess is one of the three will work out for the employing team. The clubs are in insurance buying mode, hedging their bets against injury of the signed star. This off-season might go down as the Mill Stone Trio, cause you know some of these contracts are going to drag some GMs to the bottom of the river.

  15. 😂😂😂

    I hear you, Package.

    Family of 4….4 tickets, parking, 4 hot dogs, 4 drinks, 4 Cracker Jacks, 4 Cool-a-Cools, 4 souvenirs…. Priceless. Glad I have an empty nest, now😅!

  16. The Dodgers extended Clayton Kershaw’s contract by 1 year and 26mil during this offseason , not 93mil and 3 years as some say. Now with Kershaw’s injury problems many would like to see him gone because of his contract. Let me add this tidbit. Kershaw has accumulated these stats since breaking in with the Dodgers. 153 wins 2.39ERA, 2096 IP, 2275 SO, .207 Opp avg. 1.00 WHIP to go along with 6 straight playoff appearances, 3 Cy Young awards, 1 MVP, and 7 all star appearances. Surely HOF numbers and has never won a World Championship. Many blame him because he did not perform to his seasons numbers in the playoffs so they are ready to let him slide. I say if the ownership and FO management had obtained a good FA here and there they would have won a championship or two easily . Very Sad, I feel for Kershaw not the FO who have not given near the effort Kersh has. I feel you have not seen the last of Kersh but he will always get the blame and never the credit he deserves for his performance. For all those who say the players are at fault not the FO. I dispute that in this case.

  17. The great Pedro Moura has a Q&A at The Athletic.com. Obviously I won’t cut and paste most of the premium content, but some goodies:

    He sees a clear path to Verdugo getting 400 ABs.
    He says Zaidi was the one mostly credited with finding Muncy and Taylor.
    Good chance Will Smith plays in the majors.
    Forsees Bellinger as an elite RF.

    Go check it out.

  18. It is now Friday morning. Late yesterday after Kershaw tested his arm, Roberts said that Kershaw reported improvement. That could mean most anything. He is going to throw again today. The reason for this is to see if there is any more soreness.

  19. A few things

    Dodgers offer wasn’t serious. It was used to get Philly to up their offer a bit. Go see the Tom Verducci article. It also got SF involved. Again, Phillies upped the guaranteed money day deal was announced. He wasn’t giving up 150/200 million in guaranteed money. Yes, he’s overrated. But the dodgers offer wasn’t competitive.
    Dodgers next year have a 108 million in payroll commitments under the CBT per cots. Bellinger, Seager and Buehler are at least 3 seasons plus from FA. Dodgers didn’t get machado or Harper. Arenado is off the market. They’ll likely pocket the money.
    Dodgers continue to be cheap. If this short term contract junk is their plan. Say bye bye to seager and bellinger.

  20. Well, now that the Harper circus has left town, how many of you think the Dodgers should still trade Joc? Just wondering.

    1. Michael
      I think the Dodgers should trade Joc for another quality starter. Not any dumpster pitcher and not one the team gets for cutting payroll and then claims a good trade.

      1. I could see it just to free up more time for Verdugo and Taylor/Kike, but perhaps first see if any of them have “turned a corner” and really necessitate more ABs.

        Team doesn’t need another starter. They have quite a bit of starting depth. Their extra starters right now include Julio Urías, Ross Stripling, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana and Brock Stewart. There’s talent there.

    2. Why would you trade Joc? Is there a pressing need for a trade. If he doesn’t start, he will be a good backup OF. OTOH, if an opportunity presents itself, and it makes sense to make the team better, of course you probably do it. The problem that I see with Joc is his inability to hit LHP. This is the main reason he is platooned. Kike, otoh, has turned this weakness around last year which makes him a more valuable player.

      Perhaps many of you don’t know that Verdugo also has a problem hitting LHP. This seems to be his biggest liability. If he can’t turn this around, how can you start him without platooning him? These kinds of players wind up hamstringing the team, IMO. Verdugo also has not shown much power.

      One of the players I’ve been looking at is Beatty. This guy is tearing it up in the OF. Another Muncy?

  21. Package,

    Pederson is just about the only player left who the Dodgers can afford to trade, and be able to get something of value back in return. That would be sad, but baseball is a business. He can possibly blame his teammate, Clayton, or FO picking up Pollock. If the front office had been smart, they could have traded Puig for a decent pitcher, but instead they chose to dump him for nothing, and now Pederson is possibly the odd man out.

    As far as Kershaw, it would have been sad to see him go. He had been a rock, but the last few years have been so-so. It would have been sad to see him go. I would like for him to retire a Dodger because he has ment so much to the franchise, but now we are stuck with him, at high cost. Not a good business decision by the FO. Now he has put the team in desperate need for a replacement starter. Yes, Dodger pitching is very deep… they have 6-7 “potential” starters, .. they have for several years, but they have been unable to field a consistant rotation, due to injuries or imposed innings restrictions on their young pitchers. They still have been unable to grab that golden ring in October.

    They will probably have to make a few more desperate dives into the dumpster, but the pickings are now slim… they will have to dive deep to the bottom, where it gets very slippery, slimmy, and stinky. They might be able to find a rubber arm handing out Dodger Blue ballons at the entrance to Walmart, or an old pitcher in the downtown unemployment line.

    Oh well… can only wish for the best. Go Dodger Blue.

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