When the Los Angeles Dodgers enter the post-MLB Lockout free agent frenzy, will they be filling their Clayton Kershaw-sized hole with a high-upside innings-eater, or will they fill the spot with … Clayton Kershaw himself?
Imagining the left-hander pitching for any other team than the one he was drafted by in 2006 felt impossible — at least, until shortstop Corey Seager and Marcus Semien both flocked to the Texas Rangers, making Kershaw’s hometown team more than just a cutesy afterthought.
Texas doesn’t necessarily have designs of contending this season (especially not after losing Josh Jung to shoulder surgery), but their timeline just got escalated. Kershaw could theoretically join the Rangers for a not-so-sad swan song, with hopes of making October runs in 2023 and 2024.
According to one former teammate, Kershaw’s attitude as the lockout (again, theoretically) wraps is much more focused on time away and time spent with family as it is on bringing the Dodgers back to former glory.
Rumor has it Kershaw plans to either head to Texas like his former teammate Seager or retire this offseason (which presumably also involves heading to Texas).
Clayton Kershaw’s former Dodgers teammate thinks he’s leaving for the Rangers … or retirement.
Wonder if that means his Rams season tickets will be revoked?
Though Kershaw’s tenure has grown a bit frustrating, and some Dodgers fans without a sense of sentimentality would rather cut bait a year too early than a year too late, the lefty was still a highly productive MLB pitcher in 2021, striking out 144 men in 121.2 innings before the injury bug permanently bit him.
Is paying for his mid-30s decline a risky proposition? Sure … for nearly every other MLB team. The Dodgers have solved the modern MLB payment landscape, both drafting/developing AND balancing expensive free agent signings into their seemingly limitless payroll. If they want to make it work, they’ll make it work … but not if Kershaw doesn’t.
And, for good measure, here’s Howard Cole saying what we were all thinking:
Yup. Let’s hope this former teammate chose to stay anonymous while talking to Bob Nightengale because they’re random and know their words hold very little weight, and not because they’re famously close to Kershaw, and the inclusion of a name would set off alarm bells for both the fan base and the pitcher himself.
AJ Ellis, please don’t respond to any follow-up questions.