I’m not going to write another post about how great Clayton Kershaw is. It’s abundantly clear that the two-time Cy Young Award winner is a rare talent and the best pitcher the Dodgers have had since Sandy Koufax. Recently some questions have been thrown around about whether the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw will come to an agreement on a contract extension before the end of this offseason, or if Clayton will test the waters of free agency after the 2014 season. Some are even pinpointing landing places for the southpaw like Texas. While Kershaw still loves his home state, there’s no way that the Dodgers let Kershaw go or even allow him to become a free agent.
I have confidence that the Dodgers will lockdown their golden ace to a long-term deal before the winter comes to an end and Spring Training begins. Negotiations may or may not have been fluid throughout this offseason, but we do know that the two sides had been discussing possible scenarios last year. Kershaw seemed to be irked that the negotiations were leaked, and we know that he said he didn’t want to discuss his contract during the season. Kershaw’s wife, friends and family all jumped in on television after Kersh was asked about his contract status while being interviewed on MLB Network after he won his second NL Cy Young Award in November which clearly indicated they had planned to avoid such discussion if it should pop up.
Kershaw will barely be turning 26-years old during the last part of Spring Training in March. A long-term deal would lock up the lefty well into his peak years. I mean the way that Kershaw has been pitching the last few seasons, I have no doubt that he will become even more dominant during these crucial seasons to come. The Dodgers know that Kershaw is the player which to build a Dodger Dynasty around. He’s the one that will bring another championship to Los Angeles. Kershaw’s excellence on and off the field makes him the quintessential franchise player for the Dodgers. There’s no way that the club would risk losing a future Hall of Famer like Kershaw.
Clayton and his wife Ellen traveled to Africa for their annual trip this offseason in order to check in on the orphanage they helped build. Kershaw and Ellen’s humanitarian efforts have been some of the most memorable charity work by a Dodger I have seen, and reading about their facility in Zambia which Kershaw’s Challenge helps to fund really shows what a generous heart Clayton and Ellen have.
“We see it that it’s not more money for us,” said Ellen, Kershaw’s childhood sweetheart since eighth grade, “but more responsibility to do good things with that. The more money you have, the more responsibility you have to help more people, a responsibility for people in need. Our goal and our passion will always be to make a difference in this generation.”
By investing in Kershaw, the Dodgers are not only securing themselves the best left-hander or perhaps overall pitcher in baseball, but
they also will be supporting Clayton and Ellen’s philanthropy and good will to help needy children not only in Africa but also those in the Los Angeles area which are aided by other charities which Kershaw’s Challenge donates to. Kershaw is a player which children can look up to. While other players like Puig have been getting in trouble with the law, the Dodgers need a player like Kershaw to not only inspire on the pitching mound but also in the clubhouse, Los Angeles, and on the global baseball scene.
Kershaw isn’t perfect, and we saw him struggle mightily in Game 6 of the NLCS, but we know as Dodger fans that Kershaw is a real person who just happens to be born with a nasty curveball. The Dodgers will sign Clayton Kershaw to a long-term deal so there’s no need to fret. He should retire in a Dodger uniform. Sandy Koufax was only a Dodger, and Kershaw should also be bound in Blue for life.