Clayton Kershaw will "always have a spot" on the Dodgers if he wants to remain in Los Angeles next season, says team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. 

Drafted out of high school by the Dodgers in 2006, Kershaw has spent his entire career with the franchise but is a free agent this offseason after the team declined to issue him a qualifying offer for 2022. 

That decision was not a surprise, as forearm problems caused Kershaw to miss more than two months during the regular season and the entire postseason. 

But Friedman told reporters on Tuesday that move should not be seen as a sign that the door is closed. 

"We've been very outspoken that we really want Kersh to come back, not only what he's meant to us looking back, but also what we think he will mean for us looking forward," Friedman said at the MLB general managers' meetings in California, via ESPN. 

"That being said - just like every free agent, but Kersh even a little bit more so - he has earned the right to be in this position and figure out what's best for him and his family.

"So there's like a personal and a professional tug of war for me. Professionally I really hope he's back, personally I want them to do what makes the most sense for their family, and we'll figure out what that means."

Kershaw wrapped up a three-year, $93million contract this season, and the Dallas-area native's hometown Texas Rangers are expected to make a strong push to sign him. 

The 33-year-old went 10-8 with a 3.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings this season, the ERA representing the second-worst of his career ahead of only a 4.26 as a rookie in 2008. 

Kershaw has a 185-84 career record with 2,670 strikeouts and a 2.49 ERA, winning three Cy Young Awards and eight All-Star selections along the way in addition to the 2014 National League MVP award. 

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers declined to extend a qualifying offer to Clayton Kershaw as the veteran ace prepares to enter free agency amid uncertainty over his MLB future.

Kershaw, who did not pitch in the MLB playoffs as the Dodgers lost to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) due to the recurrence of a forearm problem, has spent his entire 14-year career in Los Angeles.

The World Series champion and three-time Cy Young Award winner is a free agent following the conclusion of his three-year, $93million contract with the Dodgers.

While the Dodgers lodged offers to free agent All-Stars Corey Seager and Chris Taylor prior to Sunday's deadline – worth $18.4m for one year – there was none forthcoming for future Hall of Famer Kershaw.

However, the Dodgers are reportedly still keen on bringing Kershaw back to LA for at least one more season as both parties take time to determine the 33-year-old's health.

Kershaw – an eight-time All-Star and 2014 NL MVP – made his debut for the Dodgers in 2008.

In 2021, Kershaw finished with a 3.55 ERA, the worst of his illustrious career since his rookie year (4.26) with the Dodgers.

Kershaw had a 10-8 record this season with 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings pitched.

Overall, Kershaw has a 185-84 win-loss record with 2,670 strikeouts and a career 2.49 ERA.

San Francisco Giants great Buster Posey surprisingly called time on his illustrious MLB career on Thursday.

Posey enjoyed a resurgence in 2021, helping the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins and their first National League (NL) West title since 2012 before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series (NLDS).

The three-time World Series champion and seven-time All-Star, who opted out of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign, was among a number of Giants players to enjoy a rejuvenation this term.

Posey boasted his best SLG (.499) and OPS (.889) since the Giants were crowned world champions in 2012, while the 34-year-old's 18 home runs were his most since his 19-homer campaign six years ago.

However, the future Hall of Famer – the first catcher in MLB history to hit .300 or better in his final year – announced his retirement, citing family and the physical toll of the game.

"I want to do more stuff from February to November with family," Posey – the 2012 NL MVP – said in a news conference. "Physically, it's much harder now. It's hard to enjoy it as much when there is physical pain that you're dealing with.

"It was getting to the point that things that I was enjoying were not as joyful anymore."

"I've been blessed to play in a league that has the most talented baseball players in the world," Posey added. "It's a fraternity that I've watched from afar from the time I was five years old until I arrived in September 2009.

"And one of the greatest benefits that comes along with that is that you get to meet a lot of great teammates that have a lot of similar interests as you do. ... I feel very fortunate to have made some of those friendships over the years. I look forward to them lasting for years to come."

Posey said: "The last week to 10 days I've been thinking, 'How do you thank a fan base?' And the Giants fan base is more than just fans, it's a community. And that sense of community is something we as players could feel in the ballpark when we took the field each night.

"I also hope it's worked the other way -- I hope over the years that you've been able to see that our team has a sense of pride that we've all taken in coming together each night and each day, working hard with a common goal and pushing each other along the way."

Jorge Soler says the Atlanta Braves gave him the instant welcome he needed following his mid-season trade from the Kansas City Royals before going on to win the World Series MVP on Tuesday.

Soler, who was traded to the Braves in July, hit three home runs across the six games in the World Series, including a three-run go-ahead blast in the decisive 7-0 Game 6 win over the Houston Astros to earn the MVP.

The 29-year-old Cuban's three home runs were all go-ahead blasts, becoming only the sixth player in history to achieve the feat in a World Series, joining Babe Ruth (1926), Lou Gehrig (1928), Gene Tenace (1972), Curtis Granderson (2015) and George Springer (2017).

Soler had struggled earlier in the season with the Royals, hitting at .192 with 13 home runs, 37 RBIs and 59 hits across 94 games.

Following his switch to Atlanta, Soler hit at .269 with 14 home runs, 33 RBIs and 56 hits in 55 regular season games, before an explosive postseason.

Soler, who missed the National League Championship Series due to COVID-19, hit at .242 across the postseason, headlined by his three home runs and six RBIs in the World Series, hitting at .300.

"I was traded over here, and it was challenging at first," Soler told reporters after the game when asked about his form turnaround. "I felt a little out of my comfort zone. I didn't really know people.

"Everyone in that clubhouse welcomed me in, and it felt instantly, after a little while, just like a family. It's top to bottom, from the entire organisation since I joined, I always felt extremely welcome here."

Soler becomes only the second Cuban to win the World Series MVP, following Livan Hernandez with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

"[Winning MVP] means a lot to me, to my family, to the organisation," Soler said. "It's something really special."

Soler also posted a slugging percentage of .800 against the Astros in the World Series, earning praise from manager Brian Snitker.

"He's been swinging the bat so good," Snitker said. "This whole World Series. Even just the walks he was taking were really big."

While the pain of World Series is still raw, Dusty Baker said the hurting Houston Astros will use it as a source of motivation to go one step further in MLB next season.

The Astros were unable to stop the red-hot Atlanta Braves, who clinched their first World Series title since 1995 with a 7-0 rout in Houston on Tuesday.

Houston needed to win Game 6 on home soil to force a championship decider, but there was no denying the Braves – who were fuelled by home runs from World Series MVP Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman.

The Astros – who were featuring in their third World Series in five years – and their big hitters were unable to get going, with postseason experts Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa blanked by Atlanta.

After a 4-2 series loss, veteran Astros manager Baker said: "Yeah, it's tough, but you know something? You've got to keep on trucking, and that gives you even more incentive next year.

"It's tough to take now, but this too shall pass. I mean, it really hurts, but it's over."

 

It could be an end of an era for the Astros, with World Series-winning star Correa set to enter free agency.

The Astros have already lost Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees) and George Springer (Toronto Blue Jays) in free agency over the past two years and the departure of two-time All-Star Correa looms large.

Veteran pitchers Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are also soon-to-be free agents.

"I was just thinking this is crazy how you spend — and you give your life and everything you have to an organisation and then one day you don't belong to the organisation anymore just in a matter of seconds," the 27-year-old Correa said post-game.

"So it's obviously tough to process."

"I hope it's not, that it's not over yet," Baker said of Correa, who debuted for the Astros in 2015. "He's a professional. He's a real leader. ... He doesn't give an alibi or any excuses. He just comes out and plays the game the way he's supposed to play it."

Baker added: "I can tell how our guys gravitate towards him. I can tell even how the opposition always shows respect for him, especially when they're around second base. ... He just plays the game the way it should be played."

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker and star Freddie Freeman lauded the team's resilience in overcoming obstacles on the road to winning their first World Series since 1995.

The Braves claimed the best-of-seven World Series 4-2 thanks to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros in Game 6, becoming the eighth side in a row to clinch the title away from home.

The triumph is Atlanta's first championship in 26 years, while it comes after they lost star outfield Ronaldo Acuna Jr. in July due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury along with starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a fractured fibula in Game 1 of the World Series.

Atlanta had off-field issues too, with two-time All-Star Marcell Ozuna placed on the commissioner's exempt list after being arrested and charged with aggravated assault in May.

The Braves traded in Alex Duvall and acquired Joc Pederson in July, with both hitting three home runs during the postseason, along with 10 and nine RBIs respectively.

"These guys never gave up on themselves. We used a lot of guys," Snitker said during the post-game ceremony.

"We lost a lot of pieces over the course of the summer. It was just the next man up. These guys never stopped believing in themselves.

"They never stopped working. I've got a rock star coaching staff that make sure these guys stay consistent every day. They always played the game the way you're supposed to play it."

Freeman, who has been with the Braves since 2010 and won last season's National League (NL) MVP, hailed the side's resilience.

"I think the most gratifying thing is this team, we hit every pothole, every bump that could've happened this year," Freeman said. "Injuries, everything that could've gone wrong. We overcame every single one of those things.

"This group came very single day, prepared and worked and worked and worked and ended up world champions."

Freeman, who padded the lead with a seventh-inning solo home run, added: "This is what you dream about every single year. You come to spring training wanting this to happen and it happened this year.

"It means everything. We've been waiting for a championship in this city for a long time. I'm glad we delivered it."

Snitker has spent all of his 45 seasons in professional baseball with the Braves, including the past six years as manager.

"It takes a lot to make this happen," Snitker said. "I'm very proud of our organisation and this club. There's nothing better. We're world champions."

Jorge Soler was named World Series MVP after hitting three go-ahead home runs across the six games. He becomes the second Cuban to claim the honour, behind Livan Hernandez with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

Soler also becomes the sixth player to hit three or more go-ahead home runs in a World Series, joining Babe Ruth (1926), Lou Gehrig (1928), Gene Tenace (1972), Curtis Granderson (2015) and George Springer (2017).

"I was just really focused during that at-bat," Soler said about his third-inning go-ahead three-run blast. "I feel like he'd thrown my every pitch he had in his arsenal so I just kept fouling the pitchers off and eventually got to that 3-2 count and he hung the slider and I was able to drive it."

The Atlanta Braves returned to the summit of MLB, claiming their first World Series crown in 26 years after blitzing the Houston Astros 7-0 on Tuesday.

Atlanta had the chance to clinch on home soil on Sunday but were denied by a desperate Astros franchise, who overturned a four-run deficit to prolong the best-of-seven series.

But the Braves were not to be denied in Game 6 as home runs from Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman secured a 4-2 series victory and their first World Series since 1995.

The drought-ending success delivered a fourth World Series title to the Braves, with all four championships being clinched in different cities – Boston, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Houston.

After two scoreless innings in Houston, the Braves seized control thanks to a three-run third inning at Minute Maid Park, where the bats of Astros stars Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez fell silent.

Soler was the instigator, his 446-foot three-run homer off Luis Garcia seeing him become the fourth player in Braves history to hit a three-run homer in a World Series after Hank Aaron (1957), Lonnie Smith (1991) and Ryan Klesko (1995).

 

The red-hot Braves did not let up in the fifth as Swanson delivered a two-run homer after Freeman's double had allowed Soler to score earlier in the inning.

Entering the game, Freeman had eight career postseason home runs, with half of them coming in 2021 and the Braves star tied a franchise record.

Freeman matched Fred McGriff with his fifth homer of the playoffs – a joint Braves record for most home runs in one postseason after going long in the seventh inning.

Braves ace Max Fried became the first starter in history to have six-plus strikeouts, zero walks and no runs in a potential World Series-clinching game.

The Atlanta Braves won their first World Series title since 1995 after defeating the Houston Astros in six games in MLB's showpiece.

After missing out on their first chance to close out the World Series against the Houston Astros on Sunday, the Atlanta Braves are confident heading into Game 6. 

As the teams prepare to reconvene at Houston's Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, Braves manager Brian Snitker said his side are not feeling any ill effects from their 9-5 home defeat in Game 5. 

Atlanta need just one more victory to win their first World Series since 1995, and Snitker insists the players are showing no signs of letting the pressure affect them. 

"We're in the World Series right now. There's no pressure," Snitker told a news conference Monday. "Like I say, it's pressure in the NLCS when you're trying to get here. We all want to finish this off, but there's no pressure.

"We're one of two teams remaining in our sport, and [I haven't] sensed any kind of pressure out of these guys internally. The only time I hear about that is in this [press conference] room. In that room out there, I never hear it."

Six teams have blown a 3-1 World Series lead in a seven-game series, but it has only happened once in the last 36 years: the 2016 Cleveland Indians against the Chicago Cubs. 

The Braves will feel good about their chances of avoiding a similar fate primarily because they can expect to get significant innings out of their starting pitchers in Game 6 and, if needed, the decisive Game 7. 

Thanks to a lack of depth in their rotation exacerbated by the loss of veteran Charlie Morton to a broken leg suffered in Game 1, the Braves have had to start relief pitchers each of the last two games. 

Dylan Lee faced just four batters in Game 4 before Kyle Wright picked up the slack with an impressive 4.2 innings of relief work, while Tucker Davidson recorded only six outs on Sunday. 

The Braves will send Max Fried to the mound Tuesday, giving him another chance against the Astros after a rough start in Atlanta's Game 2 defeat.

"I expect to see Max on top of his game tomorrow," Snitker said. "I expect that every time he goes out. I mean, this guy probably, since the All-Star break, is one of the best pitchers in the game. So that's kind of the version of Max that I expect to see tomorrow."

Fried also got knocked around in his NLCS Game 5 start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the 27-year-old said he views what will be his final start of the season as a chance at redemption. 

"Any time that you go out there and you don't perform the way that you want, you don't win, you want to go back out there and redeem yourself," Fried said.

"I'm ready to go out there and leave it all on the field. It's probably going to be my last outing of the year, so there's nothing to hold back."

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker says his side "don't know how to quit" after fighting back from conceding a first-inning grand slam to force a Game 6 in the World Series against the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves raced to a 4-0 lead from Adam Duvall's first-inning grand slam as they looked to clinch the World Series on home soil at Truist Park leading the series 3-1.

The Astros, who were world champions in 2017, American League (AL) winners in 2019 and fought back from a 3-0 deficit in last year's AL Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays to force a Game 7, responded with back-to-back two-run inning, before a three-run rally in the fifth inning to take the lead.

"We've been through many of these battles," Baker said at the post-game news conference. "They don't know how to quit.

"They're always looking for an edge or an opening. Fortunately tonight we took advantage of some."

Carlos Correa, who was part of the title-winning 2017 team, had three hits and two RBIs for the game, while Martin Maldonado came up with three RBIs. The Astros catcher was the first player in history to drive in runs with a hit, walk and sacrifice fly in a postseason game.

Maldonado's improbable contribution came after the Braves appeared on their way to securing their first World Series since 1995 after Duvall's first-inning grand slam.

"I always say, if it's going to happen, let it happen early," Baker said about the grand slam. "You don't want it to happen in the middle of the game or toward the end of the game."

The home crowd was electric after Duvall's grand slam, demanding a curtain call, but he insisted they did not get carried away.

"We celebrated it, we got excited and that's what you do when you hit home runs, but it's a long game," Duvall said.

"That happened in the bottom of the first. It's a nine-inning game, and they didn't quit."

Braves manager Brian Snitker added: "We knew we had a long, long way to go in that game and anything could happen. It would have been great if we could have kept adding on. We just weren't able to do that."

The Houston Astros delayed the Atlanta Braves' World Series celebrations after flexing their muscles in Game 5, winning 9-5 in come-from-behind fashion.

Atlanta had the chance to clinch their first World Series title since 1995 on home soil, but the Astros spoiled the party to stay alive in MLB's showpiece.

The Braves led 4-0 after the opening-inning grand slam before the desperate Astros – led by Martin Maldonado's three RBIs – rallied to put Atlanta's celebrations on ice.

Atlanta still lead the best-of-seven matchup 3-2 and can claim their fourth World Series away to the Astros in Game 6 in Houston on Tuesday.

 

In MLB history, teams ahead 3-1 in a best-of-seven World Series have a 40-6 record. According to Stats Perform, clubs in that situation are 11-1, with the 2016 Cleveland Indians (against the Chicago Cubs) the only franchise to lose the series having held a 3-1 advantage.

Adam Duvall of the Braves became the first player in World Series history to hit a go-ahead slam in a potential clinching game.

But Houston's offence came up big with two runs apiece in the second and third innings before a three-run fifth-inning helped the Astros move 7-5 clear.

The Astros – also fuelled by a resolute bullpen – made sure of the win via runs from Kyle Tucker and Jose Altuve in the final two innings as Houston became the first ever team to trail by four-plus runs on the road in the World Series and win by four-plus runs, per Stats Perform.

The Atlanta Braves are one win away from clinching the World Series, but manager Brian Snitker insisted "I've been around too long to get ahead of myself".

Atlanta can claim their first MLB championship since 1995 by winning on Sunday thanks to Saturday's rallying 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning as the Braves overturned a 2-0 deficit at home to Houston in Game 4.

Snitker – the 2018 National League Manager of the Year – is remaining grounded, despite the Braves standing on the cusp of a drought-ending title.

"I just want to win tomorrow," Snitker said post-game. "I'd rather be up three than down three, I guess. But I've been around too long to get ahead of myself."

 

Jose Altuve put the Astros 2-0 ahead after scoring in the opening inning and homering in the fourth before Swanson and Soler took centre stage.

After Eddie Rosario scored in the sixth inning, Swanson levelled the contest with a solo homer in the seventh and Soler put the Braves ahead one batter later as Atlanta hit back-to-back home runs in a World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Soler became the fourth pinch-hitter to launch a go-ahead homer in the World Series and first since Ed Sprague in 1992, after Swanson became just the second Braves shortstop to hit a home run in the World Series after Johnny Logan in 1957.

"At the beginning of the year, I wasn't part of this team," Soler, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in July, said. "The organisation traded for me.

"Obviously, I'm grateful to be here. It truly means a lot to be able to be here with this group of guys."

Swanson added: "I feel like we were just kind of -- not dead all day, but I feel like they did such a good job of keeping us at bay for so long and we didn’t have too many opportunities.

"Then we were able to make something happen there in that inning. Man, just tremendous."

The Atlanta Braves are one win away from their first World Series championship since 1995 after rallying past the Houston Astros 3-2 in Game 4.

Atlanta hammered their way to within touching distance of a fourth World Series title thanks to back-to-back home runs from Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler on Saturday.

Swanson levelled the contest with a solo homer in the seventh inning before Soler put the Braves ahead one batter later as Atlanta hit back-to-back home runs in a World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Soler became the fourth pinch-hitter to launch a go-ahead homer in the World Series and first since Ed Sprague in 1992.

 

The Astros had led 2-0 on the road courtesy of star Jose Altuve's fourth-inning solo hit after he opened the scoring in the first.

But Eddie Rosario sparked Atlanta's rally in the bottom of the sixth inning before Swanson – just the second Braves shortstop to hit a home run in the World Series after Johnny Logan in 1957 – and Soler took control in the seventh, finishing the job.

Atlanta's Dylan Lee became the first pitcher to make his first major league start in the World Series and he struck out one batter while giving up one run in 0.1 innings.

Astros veteran Zack Greinke pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out three before team-mate Cristian Javier gave up two homers in the seventh.

 

Astros at Braves

The Braves can wrap up the World Series with a win over the Astros in Atlanta on Sunday.

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker has defended his decision to pull rookie pitcher Ian Anderson after five innings on a no-hitter in their 2-0 World Series Game 3 win over the Houston Astros on Friday.

Anderson tossed down four strikeouts across five no-hit innings before Snitker opted to pull him, rotating his bullpen over the next four inning with A.J. Minter taking over in the sixth inning.

Atlanta were leading 1-0 after Austin Riley's third-inning RBI single, when Snitker pulled Anderson, with Travis d'Arnaud adding an insurance solo home run in the eighth inning to help them to a 2-1 series lead.

The Braves combined for seven no-hit innings, which was the second longest no-hit bid in a World Series game since Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956. 

Right-hander Anderson was just the second rookie to toss at least five no-hit innings in a World Series game but was denied a bid at a no-hitter.

"He'd thrown a lot of pitches at the top half of that lineup," Snitker said during his post-game news conference.

"Getting ready to go back out when he did, I thought in the fourth inning he had to really work to get through that. He had a really good fifth inning. Then I told him, and he was like 'are you sure, are you sure?'. I was like, 'Ian I'm going with my gut'."

Anderson admitted he wanted to continue but understood Snitker's decision, praising the Braves' bull pen.

"You want the chance to compete especially on the biggest stage like this is," Anderson said.

"I knew he wasn’t going to budge. It's hard to, you've got guys like [Tyler] Matzek, Minter and Luke [Jackson] and Will [Smith] at the back end coming in. You can't blame him for going to those guys."

Matzek, who allowed the first hit in the eighth inning, revealed that neither Minter or Jackson realised they were bidding for a no-no.

"Luke Jackson didn't know. Minter didn't know," he said. "After I got through my inning, they went up said and 'hey did you know you gave up the first hit' and I said 'yeah I did know, I paid attention'. They were like 'oh, I just wanted to come in and get out'.

"Our job stayed the same. It's to go out there and get the three outs in your assignment and get off the field and let the next guy do his job. We're just focused on doing that and it worked out."

The two hits conceded were the fewest ever conceded in a World Series game by a team that used five pitchers.

Astros manager Dusty Baker backed his side to respond after being shut out in Game 3, ending with only two hits for the game.

"Nobody can hit all the time," Baker said. "The more those guys get out, the more they're one at-bat away from a hot streak. That's how hitters think."

Rookie pitcher Ian Anderson tossed down five no-hit frames as the Atlanta Braves strangled the Houston Astros 2-0 to win Game 3 and claim a 2-1 lead in the World Series on Friday.

The Astros failed to register one hit until the eighth inning, finishing the game with only two as Austin Riley's third-inning RBI double and Travis d'Arnaud's eighth-inning solo home run earned Atlanta the win.

The Braves' defensive performance was the key, keeping the Astros scoreless led by Anderson across five innings which included four strikeouts, with A.J. Minter, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith all playing their roles across an inning each on the hill.

Anderson becomes just the second rookie to toss at least five no-hit innings in a World Series game. Atlanta becomes the first team to not allow a hit through seven innings of a World Series game since the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 in 1967.

Eddie Rosario, who brought up his 21st hit of the postseason, scored from Riley's third-inning RBI double to give Atlanta the advantage.

The strong defensive game continued, with Astros rookie starter Luis Garcia having six strikeouts across three and two-third frames, while Kyle Tucker produced a spectacular outfield diving catch in the sixth inning.

The Braves took a combined no-no to the eighth inning before Aledmys Diaz knocked a single to left field to end the bid, but the Astros could not capitalise.

Braves catcher d'Arnaud added insurance as he registered home runs in back-to-back World Series games with his eighth-inning solo blast.

The winner of Game 3 in the World Series has gone on to win it all in 39 of last 60 series after being tied at 1-1, including 13 of last 17 instances.

 

Astros at Braves

Houston will look to level the World Series when they meet again at Truist Park on Saturday.

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