Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is an elite talent. He has wowed the baseball world every season. Even after his documented post-season failures, many rested the Dodgers’ championship aspirations on his arm. Once again, his playoff demons came back to haunt him.
In game five of the National League Division Series versus the Washington Nationals, Kershaw came on in relief during a 7th inning rally by the Nationals. He struck out Adam Eaton on 3 pitches in an impressive vintage Kershaw display. He held the lead for the Dodgers in an elimination game. During the eight inning, it would take Kershaw three pitches to hand the tie to the Washington Nationals, and after extinguishing their hope, he gave it right back to them The Nationals went on to defeat the Dodgers 7-3 in extra innings, eliminating the top team of the National League.
Many will blame Kershaw for the Dodgers’ early exit. As mentioned before, his postseason statistics are well-documented. With the Dodgers still hunting for a title, should they give up on him?
Reasons to Keep Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw is one of the most important pieces to the Dodgers’ success. In the 2019 regular season, he finished with 16 wins, which led the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Also, he finished with a 3.03 ERA, which was the second-best among starters. Every year, he proves he is still an elite force in the regular season. The Dodgers would not have won over 100 games this year without him. Kershaw should not shoulder the total blame for the loss. Dodgers manager David Roberts failed to turn the ball over to his bullpen and instead chose to ride with Kershaw.
This is the first year that Kershaw finished with an ERA over 3.00. To be honest, it was 3.03, which isn’t even that much over. Kershaw’s best days might be behind him, but the guy knows how to pitch. That should not be overlooked as the Dodgers look to continue their success.
Reasons to Trade Clayton Kershaw
The Dodgers have been a highly-competitive team over the last few years, resulting in two straight World Series appearances. They are expected to compete for a title within the next few years. Kershaw has established himself as a great regular season pitcher.
His place historically will be judged by his post-season success. So far, Kershaw has not lived up to expectations. His post-season stats includes a 9-11 record with a 4.43 ERA. The Dodgers have become more youthful. Walker Buehler looks to become the new ace. Dustin May looks to continue his development. The Dodgers’ powerful youth movement could spell trouble for Kershaw, especially given his postseason issues. If the Dodgers want to get over that hump, they may look to find a landing spot for Kershaw that isn’t in Dodger blue.
The Dodgers should not give up on Kershaw. He is still too valuable to the team. His regular-season dominance continues to overpower his post-season failures. Between his hefty contract and what he means to this franchise, fans need to overlook the postseason issues, especially since they may not all be his fault. Poor management can also cause issues, much like what happened in game 5 of the NLDS.
However, the Dodgers should consider acquiring another ace-type of starter to hide Kershaw. He has proven that he cannot be trusted as the number one guy in the postseason. The Dodgers will enter the 2020 season as title contenders again. Kershaw will perform, but his prime window might be closing. The Dodgers should field offers, but keep their hands off the sell button.
Author Twitter: @SCtheSecond
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