Dodgers president expresses 'strong hope' Clayton Kershaw returns

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will be a free agent after the season, but team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the club wants the longtime star to return.

"Nothing has changed," Friedman said on Tuesday. "My strong hope is that Clayton Kershaw is pitching here next year, but like I said last year, for him to take the time to put his head together with [his wife] Ellen and figure out what makes the most sense for their family is what we'll afford them the time to do."

Friedman also said manager Dave Roberts will return next year. Roberts signed a three-year extension earlier this year.

"Expectations here are incredibly high and that's awesome," Friedman said. "I love how passionate our fans are. Those expectations are shared by everyone that works here, in the front office, the coaches room, Dave, our players. I personally don't think the criticism Dave has received has been fair. I think it's human nature to want to point the finger at someone. I feel this was an organizational failure in the postseason."

Friedman said he is still digesting one of the worst -- if not the worst -- collapse in team postseason history. After posting a franchise-record 111 wins and making their 10th consecutive playoff appearance, the Dodgers lost 3-1 in the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres, a team they beat 14-5 in the regular season.

During the NLDS, the Dodgers had an 0-for-20 stretch with runners in scoring position.

"The last three days have been incredibly difficult, and I'm not sure exactly when that's going to dissipate," Friedman said.

"I think it's natural to go back and think through it. Obviously, everyone wants a clear-cut answer," he said. "If you're able to boil it down in its simplest form, in the regular season, we led baseball in every statistical category with runners in scoring position. In this series we were not good ... the question is, is it baseball or are there things we can do to improve on that?"

Friedman was visibly annoyed when asked if it was Roberts or the front office making on-field decisions in the playoffs.

"After every single postseason I've answered that question, so I don't feel that's the narrative," Friedman said.

Asked if Roberts makes those decisions, Friedman said: "One hundred percent. We've answered this a lot of times. I'd really like to not answer it next year. Well, next year, hopefully it's after a parade. It's been very clearly answered here a lot of different times. If it ever changes, I'll let people know. I don't think it ever will. If it ever does, I will let you know."

Another key decision for the Dodgers is the status of third baseman Justin Turner, who resurrected his career with Los Angeles and became one of the best hitters in baseball, but it's unclear if the Dodgers will pick up his $16 million option for 2023.

"Those are all personnel things that we'll spend more time on," Friedman said. "He's been a huge part of our success. Been right in the thick of everything as long as I've been here. Answering definitively about what next year's team is going to look like right now is really difficult. We're going to take time and meet as a group to get into those things."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.