Breaking Down Clayton Kershaw’s Contract Option

Kershaw has had back issues in his career (though he says they are no longer a problem), and he has missed significant time in each of the past three seasons due to various other injuries. From 2010-2015, Kershaw averaged just over 222 innings pitched per season. In the three seasons since, he has averaged fewer than 162 innings, meaning he has not thrown enough innings, on average, to qualify for the ERA title. Of the past three years, he has qualified for the ERA crown in just 2017. He led the majors in ERA that year, of course, but that’s beside the point. Kershaw is looking like a mortal. 

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A Look at the National League Playoff Picture

Fangraphs is currently giving the Dodgers a 72.3% chance to make the playoffs and a 58.5% chance of winning the NL West. FiveThirtyEight doesn’t like the Dodgers nearly as much, giving them just a 56% chance to make the playoffs a 45% chance to win the division. 

The discrepancy between the two models is why we play the games; these are contests between two groups of nine humans, and anything can happen in baseball.

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2017 Recap: NL West

After four straight seasons of being eliminated in the playoffs prior to the World Series, it seems fair to say that anything short of a World Series appearance would be considered a failure by this Dodger fanbase, and perhaps even the front office, after spending so much. Fortunately for those fans, when the season got underway, the Dodgers did not disappoint.

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Clayton Kershaw: The Greatest* Pitcher of All-Time

Clayton Kershaw could be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 and I doubt there would be much contention. He won’t be, because he’s only 28 years old (turns 29 in March 2017), and is still pitching in the majors at an extraordinarily high level, so he won’t be eligible for induction. But if Kershaw decides tomorrow to retire and devote the rest of his life to working with his charity, he would still probably make it into the Hall of Fame. For Kershaw, though, the Hall of Fame is just a starting point. I think Kershaw can retire as the greatest (live-ball) pitcher of all-time.

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