Clayton Kershaw is playing in his 16th year in the MLB, and still looks as good as ever. He finished April as the National League Pitcher of the Month, proving that age is really just a number.
Over the course of his last two starts, Kershaw has run into a bit of trouble, but he’s been playing through some very difficult off-the-field issues. Nevertheless, Year 16 Kershaw is as good as any, making it clear that he probably still has a few more years left in the tank.
With Kershaw, though, you never know when he’ll call it a career.
The Dodgers have allowed him to take things year by year, meaning any season could end up being his last. Kershaw’s retirement will undoubtedly be a very emotional day for Dodger fans, however, they will hold out hope that they’ll get to see him in some facet of the game in his post-playing career.
Kershaw has joined Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser on the SNLA broadcasts a few times this season, and looked as comfortable as ever in that role. Dodger fans would love to see him take a similar kind of role when his playing career is over, but Kershaw isn’t so sure.
When Mookie Betts asked Kershaw on his new Bleacher Report show what he may want to do, the longtime ace had another idea in mind.
“The only thing that’s been a little enticing post career is, I played with a couple guys from Japan — Hiroki Kuroda, Kenta Maeda — and they both said any time I want to go play first base in Japan, I can go play first base,” Kershaw said. “I think that would be so fun to get to play first base. … It would be a blast. It think it would be so much fun. I don’t think Ellen would go for it. But I think it would be a blast.”
I think everyone would love to watch Kershaw transition to a first base role in Japan in his post-playing career — well everyone except his wife, Ellen, I guess. However, it doesn’t sound like a very realistic proposition.
To his credit, Kershaw was a pretty decent hitter over the course of his MLB career before the implementation of the designated hitter in the National League.
Over the course of his career, Kershaw was 113-for-698 at the plate, sporting a slash line of .162/.205/.185. He has one home run, 11 doubles, one triple and 40 RBIs in his MLB hitting career.
Could Kershaw make it as a decent first baseman in Japan for a year? Probably. Is it an at all realistic option for him considering he’s one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history and already 35 years old? Probably not.
So while it’s a fun dream, we have to assume that he won’t actually go to Japan to play first base. And if that’s the case, we can hope that he decides to, at some point, make his way into a broadcast booth in some capacity to share his baseball knowledge with the world.
But Clayton Kershaw playing first base is really fun to think about.
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