Los Angeles Dodgers recently heard from free agent Clayton Kershaw, but it perhaps wasn't helpful in terms of knowing more about his status for 2024. He also didn't seem too thrilled about the team's pursuit of Shohei Ohtani based on his sarcastic comments.
Nonetheless, Dodgers fans very much want Kershaw to finish his career in LA. It's hard to picture him anywhere else, but the rumors about a possible pairing with the Texas Rangers have been prevalent for over a year know, and it's a logical one.
Kershaw even said last offseason that his decision came down to the Dodgers and Rangers. Though he ultimately chose LA, he only signed a one-year deal and we're right back to where we were a year ago.
This time, however, Kershaw is expected to miss at least half the 2024 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. He expressed a will to come back and play another season, citing a desire to win another World Series. You know who just won the World Series? That would be the Rangers.
You know who has choked out of the playoffs four out of the last five seasons? The Dodgers. But Kershaw finishing his career anywhere else, especially since it'll only be another half-season or season-and-a-half, would be criminal.
Is Rangers' quiet offseason helping Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw reunion?
Though Kershaw probably won't factor into any team's Plan A for 2024, he still provides an inimitable veteran presence and is one of the best pitchers in the game (even when he's hobbled). His postseason performances are certainly worrisome, but so many other positives outweigh that singular negative. And at this point, contending teams need to better utilize him come October.
On top of him remaining a Dodger feeling right, it also helps LA is hell bent on building a winner for 2024 and beyond. Nobody's denying the Rangers have a contending roster, but their offseason has been inactive and quiet, outside of news of Max Scherzer undergoing back surgery that will knock him out for half of 2024.
Could Texas' lack of moves so far actually be helping the Dodgers in their efforts to reunite with Kershaw? When you factor in the lack of upgrades because of a thin free agent market, difficulty finding deals on the trade market because of a depleted farm system, and a possible World Series hangover, the Rangers may not be in the driver's seat here.
Kershaw's Dodgers teammates want him back. The team's new acquisitions in Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow would love to share a dugout with him. Andrew Friedman has expressed the door is always open for Kershaw and that the team will accommodate any and all of his needs.
Maybe the Ohtani and Yamamoto signings rubbed Kershaw the wrong way. It's possible. But if it's between the Dodgers and Rangers, LA provides no better place to rehab a tough injury. And if the Dodgers add more reinforcements to the pitching staff, he'll be well protected when he's finally able to return.
The more silence from the Rangers, the better. The Dodgers might be next year's "pick," but there's definitely a better chance of LA making a run than there is for Texas to repeat. Kershaw knows how hard it is to win back-to-back pennants, let alone capture a single ring.