Admittedly, 2021 isn’t going to amount to much in all likelihood for the Texas Rangers. It’s a season dedicated to a rebuild and ensuring the future success of this franchise.
Well, part of that future success will hinge greatly on GM Chris Young and President Jon Daniels making intelligent and calculated free agency decisions when it comes time to maximize on the Rangers’ next competitive window.
That’s why we raised our eyebrows when we read that Texas is looming as the LA Dodgers’ long-time ace and now World Series Champion Clayton Kershaw’s “hometown pick” in free agency, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News and MLB Trade Rumors.
Could Clayton Kershaw come home and join the Texas Rangers in free agency this winter?
Kershaw is listed as MLBTR’s eighth-best free agent in their latest 2021-22 Free Agent Power Rankings. For what it’s worth, other potential Rangers free agent target, SS Trevor Story, is ranked fourth on this same list.
Could the Rangers conceivably net two of the top 10 free agents from this year’s upcoming class? Absolutely.
We’ve written in this space before about Kershaw (and Story) being a perfect fit for the Texas Rangers.
Kershaw, a DFW-area native, is 33-years-old. At this stage in his career, he’s accomplished all that there is for a pitcher to accomplish.
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But while he’s not quite the same pitcher that he was in the prime of his career during the mid-2010s, he’s still steady as they come.
A 2.16 ERA in 2020 and a 2.89 ERA thus far in 2021 are actually some of the higher marks Kershaw has put up in the ERA department for his career.
That, in and of itself, would represent a massive upgrade to a Rangers rotation that sorely needs all the help and talent it can get.
According to MLBTR and other speculation, Kershaw is likely to receive an offer in the ballpark of three-years, $90 million, for an average annual value of $30 million per year.
That’s the kind of contract that would fit the Rangers’ upcoming timeline, especially since they plan to seriously contend by 2023.
With the Dodgers tied up to a lot of short-term money, entangled with the luxury tax and dealing with the possible impending departures of multiple key players (including star SS Corey Seager), LA won’t be able to keep everyone.
That’s where the Texas Rangers can come in and make their hometown pitch the to DFW kid Kershaw.
They’ll have the cash, they have the hometown appeal, but perhaps most importantly, they seem to have a bright future.
The trick, of course, will be selling this vision to Kershaw next winter.