Dodgers’ chief competition for Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer revealed
By Adam Weinrib
For all intents and purposes, it seems likely the Los Angeles Dodgers will retain Clayton Kershaw, their ace emeritus, for 2022 and beyond.
Especially considering his elbow issues and the related complications, the safer option for Kershaw seems to be to continue the ongoing relationship with a franchise that values him rather than create a fresh start.
Max Scherzer? Well … his market should prove to be a little more robust than Kershaw’s. And based on the latest intel, even Kershaw isn’t assured to re-up in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers will enter the offseason as the favorites to secure the services of both pitchers, but we’re nowhere close to the end of the road yet — and hey, what happens to Trevor Bauer’s money? Ideally something other than “going into Bauer’s pocket”?
When the bidding opens in earnest, you can expect these MLB teams of varying levels of success to line up their pitches: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have Scherzer in their sights, and the Texas Rangers might yearn for Kershaw.
Dodgers rumors: Kershaw to the Rangers, Scherzer to the Angels?
Add his Texan childhood buddy Matthew Stafford into the package and you really might have something here, Dallas.
Before you laugh, keep in mind this would be the type of homecoming famous athletes typically yearn for — around the age of 38, not 33, but we digress. Kershaw might be tempted by the right package from the Rangers, as long as it goes above and beyond. Is this really the right time for that marriage, though, with Kershaw’s status still up in the air? Would the Rangers, still at the start of the rebuild, want to commit a $100 million chunk in an effort to flex their muscles and embarrass the Dodgers … and for very little other reason?
Add Carlos Correa to the pile and we might be talking, but as the centerpiece of the offseason, probably not.
As for Scherzer, we’ve long known that Mike Trout has intentions to mastermind a plan to sneak him over to the other LA-area team. And you might not be aware, but the Angels are still just a little bit short on pitching. Gerrit Cole could’ve been the answer in 2019. He wasn’t. An ace isn’t the only thing this roster needs, but it’d help.
Every organization wants a piece of Max Scherzer, dead arm aside, and would love at least a seat at the table this offseason. Kershaw? It’s easy to think of him as a legacy addition, but he finished ninth in the Cy Young race last season and eighth the year before. There’s still plenty of rope in that career, elbow complications aside.
We’d agree that the Dodgers should be the odds-on favorites to retain their co-aces, but it’s always good to be fully aware of the market before walking into a strangely pivotal offseason.
Like Dave Roberts said, though, having Scherzer ahead of you in a comeback effort is a luxury, and one the Dodgers would rather not lose now that they’ve had a taste.