The oft-traveled narrative surrounding Clayton Kershaw in October is back and hotter than ever after the future Hall of Famer went up in flames in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks, retiring just one batter and allowing a half-dozen runs on as many hits.
Things didn't get better for the Dodgers from there, as the NL West champs dropped a lopsided 11-2 contest to the division rival Diamondbacks, who racked up 13 hits in the contest. The two teams will go at it again on Monday, but we're going to look past this series - and the entire postseason - for just a second and look at this through the lens of a Cubs fan, whose team could add a top-of-the-rotation arm alongside Justin Steele this offseason.
Cubs could find themselves going head-to-head with Dodgers in free agency
Competition for such arms is always stiff - but the Dodgers may need to flex their financial muscle in dramatic fashion this winter. They already need to fill the void left by Julio Urias, whose MLB career may very well be at an early end amidst domestic abuse investigations - and if Kershaw hangs up his glove at season's end, they could need to fill a spot in the rotation held since 2008 by the 10-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young winner.
Not only does this push the Dodgers into the market for big-name arms, but it takes two guys who could have been potential fits for the Cubs off the board. I speculated prior to the season that Urias may be a top free agent target for Jed Hoyer and, while Kershaw was never going to pitch anywhere other than Los Angeles or maybe Texas, it, again puts LA's staggering financial power in play for other arms.
This winter's free agent pitching class is, of course, headlined by Shohei Ohtani. The only problem there is the two-way prodigy won't pitch in 2024 as he recovers from elbow surgery. Still, the Dodgers are widely considered a favorite to land the 29-year-old superstar. Behind him, NL Cy Young lock Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, Eduardo Rodriguez, Jordan Montgomery and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, among others, will be on the market, as well.
The Cubs have other needs - there's no questioning that fact. First and third base are glaring concerns. In an ideal world, Chicago not only brings Cody Bellinger back long-term, but adds another top-shelf bat to pair with him in the middle of the order. It's hard to envision Hoyer simply running it back with the rotation we saw this season - but with the Dodgers potentially in the mix for multiple arms - it may be more likely than we'd like to admit at the onset of the offseason.