Dodgers may be willing to let Kershaw go

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 23: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen during batting practice before Game 6 of the NLCS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Saturday, October 23, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Clayton Kershaw didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Dodgers by Sunday’s deadline. (Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on Sunday they have extended qualifying offers to shortstop Corey Seager and utility player Chris Taylor.

Not on that list? Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers declined to issue an $18.4 million qualifying offer to the three-time Cy Young winner and 2014 NL MVP ahead of Sunday’s deadline, meaning Kershaw will enter free agency barring ongoing negotiations between the Dodgers and the veteran pitcher. 

The decision doesn’t mean Kershaw won’t return to the Dodgers, where he’s played his entire 14-season MLB career. But it does open up the possibility he could suit up in something other than a Dodgers uniform for the first time since joining MLB in 2008. 

Kershaw, 33, didn’t play this postseason after experiencing forearm discomfort in his pitching arm toward the end of the regular season. Manager Dave Roberts told reporters in October that Kershaw avoided ligament damage. But the extent of his injury and his prognosis to start next season remain unclear, which could certainly color how the Dodgers approached their decision on a qualifying offer. 

Kershaw posted a 3.55 ERA, 1.019 WHIP and 10-8 record while tallying 144 strikeouts and 21 walks in 121.2 innings this season. He’s made eight All-Star appearances with the Dodgers, with his most recent arriving in 2019.