The Los Angeles Dodgers have not done much this offseason, as the team is seemingly going to roll with several top prospects who are ready to make a big-league impact. Dodgers fans have already watched several free agents from the team leave this offseason.
Thankfully, the greatest Dodger of this generation did not leave, as Clayton Kershaw agreed to a one-year, $20 million contract with the club. Kershaw's future is always up in the air this time of year, as he could retire or potentially even pitch for his home ball club, the Texas Rangers, after any given season.
The Rangers have long been rumored to be a Kershaw destination, but with him coming back to LA every offseason, it might be fair to assume his dalliances are actually just smoke and mirrors.
Nope. Kershaw himself all but confirmed his interest in pitching for the Rangers after re-signing with the Dodgers this winter.
Well, at least fans don't have to worry about another owner getting desperate and offering big money to Kershaw to sway him away from Los Angeles. They just have to compete with the team that is constantly bringing in former Dodgers (looking at you, Corey Seager and Andrew Heaney).
As long as the Dodgers remain competitive, they may never lose Clayton Kershaw to the Rangers.
The key here for the Dodgers is to keep building competitive baseball teams that Kershaw wants to shove for. There is no question that Kershaw has already accomplished more than enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he eventually hangs it up. He is a natural competitor, and that is what keeps him in the league.
So as long as the Dodgers are good, they should be able to convince Kershaw to keep coming back on one-year deals. It will be interesting to see how long Kershaw even plans on playing because he could have a lot more miles left on his arm than fans realize.
If Kershaw goes the Justin Verlander route and pitches until he is 40, then he would have another six years in him. That would give him a 20-year MLB career. It might seem like Kershaw is nearing the end of his career, but he might have plenty more in the tank as he battles diminishing velocity.
While it would be a cool story to see him pitch at home in Texas, his baseball home is in Los Angeles. It wouldn't feel right for Kershaw to spend over a decade with one organization only for him to do a one-year retirement tour on a team that he has no connection with other than it being his hometown team.
It means so much more to a player's legacy to finish out a career on one team and become synonymous with that team. Kershaw knows that.
So as long as the Dodgers can stay competitive and convince him that he has a chance to win the World Series every year, they will be able to keep him from the dangling carrot that is Arlington, Texas. Or so we hope.