3 non-Rangers teams that should try to swipe Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw
By Adam Weinrib
What was once a fait accompli that the Los Angeles Dodgers would bring Clayton Kershaw back for another short-term deal doesn’t seem quite so assured ever since the season ended.
The lack of a qualifying offer left us wondering about the lefty’s health, even as Andrew Friedman put the onus on Kershaw himself regarding a return. If LA was afraid he’d take a one-year, $18.4 million deal, then how injured was his elbow really?
Then came the next worrisome domino: Corey Seager to the Texas Rangers. If one Dodgers icon could go south, why couldn’t another, especially after they also beefed up their middle infield with Marcus Semien? The Rangers were no longer some joke to be scoffed at, the idea of a mid-career retirement home for the future Hall of Famer.
No, they planned to contend, and contend quickly. Even Seager started laying the breadcrumbs for Kershaw’s arrival the second his signing became official.
So, we know Texas is lurking and will be for the entirety of this already-too-long lockout, which seems destined to last through February at the very least. Are there any other MLB teams that could step up and make the Dodgers nervous by putting the pressure on Kershaw? Perhaps a few other semi-contenders that could be helped over the hump by a 34-year-old all-timer? Any organizations out there that like to make big, splashy moves and have added several other late-career stars over the past few years?
We’re not saying these teams are in on Kershaw, but they certainly should be.
These 3 teams could — and should! — steal Clayton Kershaw from the Dodgers.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
Ooh, wouldn’t this be tempting, after so many years of having his playoff reputation tainted by St. Louis’ big bats?
An afterthought for most of 2021, the Big Bad Cardinals awakened towards the middle of August, eventually reeling of an awe-inspiring 17-game win streak through the end of September to sneak into a Wild Card game showdown with the Dodgers … that very nearly went very poorly.
Led by 40-year-old Adam Wainwright and propelled by the deadline acquisitions of 37-year-old Jon Lester and 38-(now-39)-year-old JA Happ, the Cardinals are no strangers to getting the most out of aging names from a previous generation of pitching royalty. By St. Louis’ standards, the 34-year-old Kershaw is essentially a spring chicken. If their Trevor Story money ends up burning a hole in their pockets, what’s the harm in a two-or-three-year deal for the left-hander to hopefully help them take the next steps in the NL Central?
If Kershaw were to sign, say, a three-year, $63 million deal in St. Louis, and join Wainwright atop a rotation that also includes Jack Flaherty, Steven Matz and Miles Mikolas, that would be a fearsome fivesome that could theoretically be postseason potent.
Is this realistic? Of course not. But a Kershaw deal is basically the Jumbo Package version of the Lester/Happ panic additions, and it’d certainly be a wakeup call in a winnable division for a team that isn’t scared of veterans.