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Saturday, October 02, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw exits with left forearm discomfort; playoff availability ‘not looking great’

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts saw Clayton Kershaw occasionally wince as he navigated through the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup on Friday night and thought—hoped—he was merely upset at not getting some strike calls. It turned out to be far more serious—a recurrence of the forearm/elbow inflammation that kept Kershaw out for an extended period earlier this season, forcing an abrupt exit in the top of the second inning.

With the playoffs approaching, Kershaw’s season is seemingly over. With his contract expiring, it’s fair to wonder if Kershaw’s illustrious Dodgers career is over as well.

Kershaw, still in uniform moments after the Dodgers’ 8-6 comeback victory, called it “a tough blow.”

“It just got bad enough to where I couldn’t keep going tonight,” Kershaw said. “I’ll get it looked at again, obviously, in the next couple days. Haven’t quite wrapped my head around all that yet. The biggest thing was I just wanted to be part of this team going through October. This team is special. You saw tonight. ... I’ve known that. I know that we’re gonna do something special this year, and I wanted to be a part of that. That’s the hardest part for me right now is just knowing that chances are it’s not looking great for October right now.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2021 at 11:50 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: clayton kershaw, dodgers

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 02, 2021 at 02:43 PM (#6043000)
Forearm and elbow, huh?

Must be a TJS. Which wild have him missing all of 22 and maybe some of 23. It’s possible he’s done.
   2. Ron J Posted: October 02, 2021 at 04:03 PM (#6043011)
When I saw the initial reports I was hoping it was an "abundance of caution" moment. No such luck.
   3. Adam Starblind Posted: October 02, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6043015)
He may be the rare pitcher better off rehabbing it and trying to eke out a couple more seasons. That assumes a partial tear.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: October 02, 2021 at 06:05 PM (#6043047)
I hadn't realized the contract was up -- the news seems to have been very quiet on that front. The peripherals are still great so he'll get another shot somewhere even if he is out until sometime in 2023. The durability hasn't been good for a long time of course so it will be on short-term, moderate money contracts.

As #3 notes ... I don't know if he'd be "better off" necessarily but he's certainly got more than enough money and is a lock for the HoF** so a long rehab with an uncertain outcome to pitch as a mercenary may not be so appealing. Finding out if it can be "managed" while still putting up 20-25 strong starts a year makes plenty of sense for him. I'm not sure how much money a team would be willing to give him to try. (Obviously it's early yet, we don't know how serious the injury is yet.)

** He'll test where the current HoF standards are on career IP and wins but he's in.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: October 02, 2021 at 06:13 PM (#6043051)
Not that I think anybody would debate it but Halladay is the current example of "great pitcher, short career" so Kershaw vs Halladay

2455 IP, 185-84, 155 ERA+, 3 CYA, 4th all-time in CYA shares
2749 IP, 203-105, 131 ERA+, 2 CYA, 11th all-time in shares

Of course we know of no voter that has ever cited CYA shares but it's a measure of extended dominance/excellence and that's how you get to "thought of as a HoFer." Kershaw not only has the three wins but two seconds and a third, all in a 7-year span. He won't have the career numbers but that's the sort of run only the very best pitchers in history can match.
   6. djordan Posted: October 02, 2021 at 08:36 PM (#6043108)
1) I hope Ned Coletti and his group gets remembered for drafting Kershaw 7th overall in 2006. We always roast GMs for sloppy picks, hope these guys get their legacy due.

2) As for Kershaw's HOF case, I mean, lower ERA & higher K/9 than Koufax in more IP. Higher ERA+. A clear comp. Should be first-ballot if everyone is voting in good faith.

3) Just looked this up. Number of pitchers with sub-2.80 FIP IN OVER 2450 IP? 23.

What does that number look like when you remove pitchers who played before 1930? Clayton Kershaw, table for one.

   7. Booey Posted: October 02, 2021 at 09:32 PM (#6043135)
Kershaw is only 33. Even if he needs TJ, it's a bit premature to speculate about his career being over. But yes, even if it was, he's already had a clearly better career than that other short career, first ballot HOF Dodger Sandy Koufax.

I hope he resigns with the Dodgers though. There hasn't been a one team HOF starter since Jim Palmer.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: October 02, 2021 at 11:16 PM (#6043161)
#7: Of course but it's the internet and those electrons gotta get used somehow. Which do you want, rampant speculation or more sneaky Marge Schott picture links?

Anyway, he obviously could come back. But while he's only 33, if he needs TJS then he's not pitching at all at 34, probably miss the first part of 35 and, even if all goes well, won't be himself again until 36. He's not under contract so it takes a bit extra motivation to put in all that work over the next two years to get back and, if things go only OK, maybe close out the career with a few solid but unspectacular seasons. He's presumably still got the back problems and whatever other issues that have limited him to 25 starts a year for several years now.

Anyway, obviously his choice. I don't think he'd have much problem getting the Dodgers to give him a contract that pays him a bit next year to rehab plus a reasonable, incentive-laden guaranteed contract for 2023 if he wants one. And who knows, maybe he really wants 200 wins, 3000 Ks or another ring. (He'll get one this year if the Dodgers win it.) But if he has my personality (very unlikely), he'll seriously consider calling it a day.

Was it just assumed that the Dodgers would re-sign him this offseason? Not coming back to the Dodgers might be another reason to consider hanging them up.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: October 02, 2021 at 11:40 PM (#6043167)
There hasn't been a one team HOF starter since Jim Palmer.


There aren't that many total.

Palmer
Gibson
Drysdale
Koufax
Ford
Lyons
Faber
Johnson

Anyone else?
   10. Booey Posted: October 03, 2021 at 12:05 AM (#6043169)
#9 - Feller, Lemon, Hubbell, and Joss

(Yes, I cheated with Joss, but I remembered the other 3 legit ;-)
   11. Booey Posted: October 03, 2021 at 12:13 AM (#6043170)
And apparently Christy Mathewson ruined it by pitching one game for the Reds.
   12. Dr. Pooks Posted: October 03, 2021 at 02:17 AM (#6043193)
I certainly don't think of Roy Halladay as a short career guy.

He debuted at 21, pitched a full season at 22, became elite at 25 and pitched until he 36 with virtually no time lost to injury.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: October 03, 2021 at 08:43 AM (#6043200)
#9 - Feller, Lemon, Hubbell, and Joss


I had Feller too, and I accidentally deleted him.


And apparently Christy Mathewson ruined it by pitching one game for the Reds.


Hey, Matty knew the rules when he took the hill.

OK, he probably didn't give it a lot of thought.
   14. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 03, 2021 at 09:18 AM (#6043205)
It's not much consolation, really, but Reds fans call it payback for the Rusie deal. At least the Giants didn't get ALL of Matty's career on that one.
   15. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: October 03, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6043207)
Was it just assumed that the Dodgers would re-sign him this offseason?
Basically. Friedman made it clear they want him back.
   16. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: October 03, 2021 at 10:41 AM (#6043210)
If Clayton has thrown his last pitch, how does he compare to Pedro martinez? Clayton currently has slightly better winning percentage and ERA+. Pedro has more innings and if Kershaw does return those advantages will likely disappear. Clayton also played on some better teams
   17. The Duke Posted: October 03, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6043216)
I think he might be done. He’s had the recurring back injury as well and as everyone knows that doesn’t get better with age. We’ll see. Hard to walk away from millions but I’m guessing it’s over for him.
   18. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 03, 2021 at 02:59 PM (#6043250)
Tommy John had his namesake surgery when he was 31, and though in reasonably good shape for the times, was probably nowhere near the condition that Kershaw is now. OTOH, there is the recurring back injury - but the TJ surgery might give him the time to get his back in order as well, he seems to have been managing that allright over the last few years in any case.
   19. bunyon Posted: October 03, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6043265)
I think he should do the TJ and include back therapy in his recovery. Maybe he doesn’t make it back or is crappy when he does. But he’ll be glad he did it when he’s 55.
   20. baxter Posted: October 03, 2021 at 04:37 PM (#6043283)
I wonder if the back problems caused him to change his motion, favor something thereby putting more strain on the arm. Hope he recovers; always great to watch/root for him.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: October 03, 2021 at 07:44 PM (#6043388)
I certainly don't think of Roy Halladay as a short career guy.

By HoF standards ... 2,750 innings is very short. And of course he had that horrible spell in 2000 (only 68 IP) and just over 100 IP in 2001 (in the majors). So yeah, he didn't have a full season in the majors until age 25, missed substantial time in 2004-2005 and his last full season came at 35. That's a short career for a HoFer. He's a smidgen ahead of Lester, Felix, Hamels among recent pitchers. Even Drysdale managed 12 full seasons. I think Kourfax, Joss, Gomez and Dean are the only 20th c HoF starters with fewer IP.

Kershaw vs Pedro: it's an interesting one for bWAR. Pedro wins it easily by 17 WAR and only about 3-4 of that is due to extra replacement value due to IP. But the "raw" stats are very close (Kershaw first)

RA9opp - RA9: 1.64 1.71
RA9def: 0.10 0.06
RArole: 0.18 0.16

That's just a difference of .09 R/9 ... a difference of just 25 runs over Kershaw's career or 28 over Pedro's.

Then park factors come swooping in and it's 95 for Kershaw and 100 for Pedro. That pushes the RA9avg - RA9 difference out to about 0.30 R/9. That adds another 60-66 runs. So even if we pro-rate their innings to be equal, Pedro comes out about 9-10 wins aheas. And 400 extra innings of average Kershaw is worth a lot too.

For fWAR, since Pedro's ERA is spot on his FIP while Kershaw's is a bit better, I assume the gap is a bit bigger there.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: October 03, 2021 at 07:49 PM (#6043390)
get his back in order as well, he seems to have been managing that allright over the last few years in any case.

Maybe. He hasn't started more than 29 in a season since 2015 and, dropping 2020, he's averaged 25 starts a year since then. He has avaoided missing major time but you have to assume he's gonna miss 5-10 starts a year. Obviously he's been more than good enough to deliver more value in 25 starts than almost any other pitcher in 32 starts so it hasn't been much of an issue. Also over any 5-year period, you shouldn't count on any pitcher averaging more than 25 starts, Kershaw's only odd in how consistently he misses some time but not a lot of time.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 03, 2021 at 08:35 PM (#6043407)
Re: the comparisons to Pedro - remember that all of Pedro's stats include his late career decline. Check out the rate stats of Pedro through 2005 (his age 33 season) and his rate numbers are clearly better than Kershaw's.

197-84 with a wp% of .701
60 more IP at 166 ERA+
The RA9opp-RA9 increases to 1.94
RA9def decreases to .04

Kershaw is great and all, but Pedro was clearly a step above.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: October 03, 2021 at 09:44 PM (#6043427)
If he has thrown his last pitch, he'll retire with the lowest career ERA of any starting pitcher who has debuted since Babe Ruth in 1914.

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