We will never know how close Clayton Kershaw came to joining the Texas Rangers.
It is known that the Rangers were serious in their pursuit of the Dodgers legend. As Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times pointed out, the Rangers had offered a larger contract, with more years and a higher average annual value, than the Dodgers had. Kershaw remained in Los Angeles anyway, staying with the only franchise he had ever known.
Clayton Kershaw makes sense for Texas Rangers once again
The Rangers are in the same spot heading into this offseason. They need to upgrade their pitching staff if they are going to compete for the postseason and desperately need a top of the rotation starter. And again, Kershaw is available in free agency.
Kershaw is what he is at this point. He will miss time over the course of the season, spending a few weeks on the Injured List for nagging issues as the innings have begun to take a toll. His back issues are certainly a matter of concern. He will also be 35 years old before the start of the 2023 campaign, the end of his career coming closer.
And yet, he is still one of the best pitchers in the game when he is on the mound. Kershaw posted an excellent 2.28 ERA and a 0.942 WHiP in his 126.1 innings, striking out 137 batters with just 23 walks. He is not showing any signs of slowing down just yet when he is capable of taking the ball.
That type of performance would be exactly what the Rangers need. He would be that top of the rotation arm needed to compete with the Mariners and Astros, who could be the difference in reaching the postseason. The Rangers would still need another starter, even if Martin Perez returns, but Kershaw would be a perfect start.
It all comes back to what he decides. As it is, he has said that he is leaning toward returning for next season. It is also fair to wonder if he would want to leave a perennial postseason berth and chance at another World Series with the Dodgers for a rebuilding Rangers squad. It could come down to how much playing close to his home will matter.
The Texas Rangers are looking for pitching and Clayton Kershaw will be available. It makes sense to revisit their interest from the last offseason.