The smoke continues to surround the Texas Rangers and Clayton Kershaw.
On an MLB Network appearance Monday, manager Chris Woodward spoke with Alanna Rizzo about the team’s ongoing dialogue with the longtime Dodger ace, commenting that the team has maintained contact.
Chris Woodward confirms the Texas Rangers have been talking with free agent pitcher Clayton Kershaw
Woody made sure to point out his great relationship with Kershaw, even going as far as to say the two are “friends” and that “if he wants to come back to Texas, we’ll welcome him. It would be a tremendous addition for us.”
A tremendous addition indeed. All off-season to this point, the Rangers have been connected to the veteran lefty as he mulls a potential homecoming.
The market has essentially been set for Kershaw, with Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard signing for $25 and $21 million annually, respectively. The Dodgers, of course, did not tender Kershaw a qualifying offer, which would have paid him $18.4 million in 2022.
It’s hard for me to believe Los Angeles would dish out more than the $18 million annual salary to keep the 33-year-old around if they didn’t when that opportunity presented itself (and continues to). The Dodgers used the “courtesy” excuse in justifying the decision to let Kershaw be completely free, but let’s be honest: you don’t non-tender a player who you didn’t think was valuable enough to have around. They tendered offers to Corey Seager and Chris Taylor, so why wouldn’t they to Kershaw, even if they didn’t out of ‘respect’?
Kershaw had shoulder problems in 2021 and missed the postseason, but is expected to be ready for 2022. And he’s always had an eye for returning home.
Chris Woodward’s interview on MLB Network definitely appears promising, but it really just confirms more of what we already knew: the Texas Rangers are demonstrating interest in some of the best players available in free agency. The Dodger connection is undeniably strong with Woody, though.
Let’s see if the two sides can get a deal done.