Free-agent left-hander Clayton Kershaw announced on his Instagram account on Friday that he underwent surgery to repair the gleno-humeral ligaments and capsule on his throwing shoulder. Kershaw's post noted that he is "hopeful to return to play at some point next summer," suggesting that he will not be available to his employer at the onset of the 2024 regular season.
Here's Kershaw's full post:
The gleno-humeral ligaments, for those wondering, "protect the shoulder and prevent it from dislocating anteriorly -- this group of ligaments functions as the primary stabilizers of the joint," according to the National Library of Medicine.
Kershaw, 35, has spent his entire 16-year big-league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's made 10 All-Star Games and won three Cy Young Awards and five ERA titles in that span. Kershaw started 24 times last season, amassing a 2.46 ERA (177 ERA+) and a 3.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Kershaw's year nevertheless ended on a bitter note. In his only postseason appearance, a National League Division Series matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he surrendered six runs on six hits and a walk in just a third of an inning.
Prior to learning of Kershaw's medical status, CBS Sports ranked him as the 10th best free agent on the market. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Kershaw remains a highly effective starter despite losing some oomph from his fastball late in the year. By now, you ought to know what you're getting from him workload-wise. He's not taking the ball every time through the rotation, nor is he going to lead a staff in frames. He's started 22 or 23 games in each of the last three years, and he hasn't cleared 140 innings since 2019. You have to fill in the gaps, but that's a fair trade given the quality of his work. As for Kershaw's destination … we perform this song and dance every winter, only for him to return to the Dodgers on yet another one-year deal. We doubt this time ends differently.
Even if the Dodgers bring back Kershaw, it's clear that they'll have to remain in the market for starting pitching help that can be part of their Opening Day plans.