There’s nothing that gets Dodger fans dander up more than theKoufax Verses Kershaw Argument.Sandy Koufax pitched for the Dodgers for 12 years, while Clayton is entering his 12th season. Let’s look at their average seasons based over their 12 and 11 year careers:
- Sandy Koufax:16 Wins 8 Losses; 2.76 ERA; 1.106 WHIP; 9.3 K per 9 innings; 3.2 BB per 9 innings
- Clayton Kershaw: 16 Wins 7 Losses; 2.39 ERA; 1.005 WHIP; 9.8 K per 9 innings; 2.3 BB per 9 innings
Them’s the facts. Looking at their average season, Kershaw was slightly better, but that is leaving out the last six “otherworldly” years of Koufax’s carrer. No one has ever did what Sandy did from 1961 to 1966 when he retired. Sandy’s legacy is cemented in Dodger lore, but the guy many of you say won’t spend money, just spent $93 million on a guy that many of you say is finished.
I don’t happen to buy into the “Kershaw is overpaid. Tons of money for a dead arm” theme and I also believe there is no doubt that Clayton could have gotten a lot more on the open market, but he signed for a hometown discount because he wanted to stay in LA, and LA wanted him to stay. It’s that simple. I am sure that Friedman had access to all the medicals when he did the deal and is much more aware than us with Clayton’s actual health .He will be 33 when this contract is up and he may or may not want to pitch more, but right here, right now, the question is“What can we reasonably expect from Clayton Kershaw in 2019?”
Here’s my take: I don’t have a crystal ball and neither do you, so there are a lot of factors beyond our control. I do think he will start against the D-Bags on March 28th at Dodger Stadium in their Opening Game. Striker Buehler will have to wait another year… or three! I do excpect to see Buehler in the Cy Young conversation for 2019. Clayton? I can’t predict that. I can tell you that pitchers and players in general go through phases and hills, valleys and plateaus.
Has Clayton already seen his peak? That would seem logical, but pitchers like Cliff Lee, Greg Maddux and others were pitching at an extremely high level in their mid-30’s. Cliff Lee was a Cy Young candidate at age 32 and 34. Justin Verlander put up a 4.54 ERA in his age 31 season and struggled the next couple of years. However, he re-invented himself and is pitching very well in his mid-thirties. I think Clayton can do the same.
Injuries are the Wild Card. Backs and hips can be especially troublesome and Clayton has problems with both, but with a team committed to him and with the ability to make $31 Million a year, you can buy some pretty good medical and training expertise. I’m sure Clayton takes that very seriously and is committed to being the best he can be in these last three years of his contract. Clayton is extremely competative and knows he is writing his Dodger legacy. He is aware.
He will at least start the 2019 season as the Dodger’s Ace. What happens after that is on him and Striker Buehler who is in line for a huge season in 2019. The Dodgers rotation in 2019 will look something like this:
First Half Rotation:
Second Half Rotation:
The Dodgers have seven starters (8 if you want to count Gonsolin) and will likely need all 7… or 8.
OK, here’s my prediction… OK, I have to do it as an either/or:
- Either Clayton will go 17-6 with a 2.49 ERA; or
- He will miss the season with Tommy John Surgery.
Who the heck knows? It will be fun to watch play out. The Dodgers have 2 Aces and 5 number threes.
The Cold Stove
- The cold stove got a little hotter as Yasmani Grandal signed a 1-year/$18.6 million deal with Milwaukee. The Dodgers will add a draft pick in the late 70s or very early 80s as compensation for losing Grandal.
- Most of the big free agents and trade pieces are still out there. I think things will be slow until Harper and/or Machado decides to sign, then there will be a feeding frenzy. Until then, we sit! I have been involved in many types of negiotiations over the years, and quite often, by waiting and staying away from dope-fiend moves, good things happen. Patience, Grasshoppers!