Texas Rangers: What Would It Take For Clayton Kershaw To Sign?
By Kenneth Nash
If we remain optimistic that Clayton Kershaw would be interested in signing with the Texas Rangers, what steps would it take to get him?
While I personally love to remain optimistic about all things Texas Rangers, getting Clayton Kershaw in the offseason is a little bit of a stretch. Numerous steps and pieces have to fall into place for the Rangers to have a shot at the Cy Young starter gearing up for Game 1 of the World Series tonight. Money, contract length and willingness to come to Arlington are all questions that would have to be answered which may put any chance of the left handed ace coming to Texas in doubt.
Kershaw Must Be Willing To Walk Away From $70 Million
This is first and foremost the most important step and without this happening the rest of the conversation is pointless. Clayton Kershaw has a player option for the 2019 season that if he takes, opts him into a two-year, $70 million deal to stay with the Dodgers. Pretty lucrative right? Some think that Kershaw is willing to test the free agent market in search of a long-term deal but any test comes with risk. Kershaw likely would get the contract he’s looking for but it begs the question, is it worth passing up $70 million over the next two seasons already locked in.
Kershaw Must Be Willing To Walk Away From A Contender
The Los Angeles Dodgers are just a number of hours away from first pitch of their second World Series in as many years. Seemingly they are the cream of the crop in the National League these days and while they aren’t rolling through all the competition, it’s hard to imagine a scenario next year where they aren’t favorites to win the NLCS again. Whether Kershaw and the Dodgers win the World Series or not, will he be willing to leave a perennial contender at what seems to be the club’s peak?
Kershaw Must Be Willing To Endure A Rebuild
Whether the Rangers get Clayton Kershaw or Dallas Keuchel or Patrick Corbin, they still are going to be in a rebuild for the next couple of years. Yes, adding one of these starters helps jumpstart the rebuild, but the team is more than just an ace away from being a contender again. Their starting rotation is nowhere close the those put out by the teams playing in the ALCS and NLCS this season. Even adding two of them would only put Texas in the Wild Card conversation. So with that knowledge, Clayton Kershaw has to be fine struggling for a year or two waiting for reinforcements to arrive from the minors before having a crack at the postseason again.
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Texas Must Be Willing To Pay Up
So if all the “Kershaw musts” are met above, what does a potential deal require of the Rangers. Well first off, the Texas Rangers have to break out their checkbooks to have a shot at Clayton Kershaw. The lefty would be turning down around $35 million a year to leave the Dodgers and I don’t imagine he’s asking for less if he does opt out. Will Texas be willing to commit that chunk of change to a starter who, while being one of the top pitchers in baseball, isn’t taking Texas from last in the division, to first.
Texas Must Be Willing To Commit Long-Term
If you didn’t pick up on it in the first paragraph, Clayton Kershaw isn’t hurting for money. If he decides to opt out, it’s not because the Dodgers aren’t paying him enough but rather that at 31-years old, Kershaw realizes his prime is now and he needs to lock up a long term deal before it’s too late. I would imagine the Rangers at least would have to offer a four-year deal to even get the lefty in the door and honestly, probably have to be willing to bump that up to five years to get a deal done. Now the question is, are the Rangers willing to commit five years to a 31-year old starter who has had well documented injury problems in the past.
Texas Must Be Willing To Go All-In Soon
If the Rangers are able to get Clayton Kershaw to Arlington, their timeline for a rebuild has to be pushed up a few years. What likely was a four to five year process now becomes at most a two year process. If the Rangers are willing to commit the resources necessary to bring in a Cy Young caliber starter in his prime, they must be willing to put the pieces around him to contend. Signing Kershaw and then waiting for prospects to get here in four seasons isn’t feasible and is honestly just dumb. Whatever you think of Jon Daniels, he’s not dumb. He knows that the moves he makes this offseason determine when the Rangers can compete again and he’ll be considering that when discussing any possible signings this winter.
If that seems like a whole lot of steps, it is. Pitchers like Clayton Kershaw don’t just show up every season. He would be the best starter for the Texas Rangers in years and that means it’s not a simple deal. Now while Kershaw opting out doesn’t seem as big of a stretch as you would normally assume, it is just a small part of everything that has to go into the Texas Rangers and Clayton Kershaw agreeing to a deal. And while I love to remain optimistic, this seems like too much has to go right to even have a shot at the Dallas native.