Every Texas Rangers fan knows how special Nolan Ryan is to the franchise.
His No. 34 sits up in the rafters at Globe Life Field and the man is in the Hall of Fame for nearly four decades of pitching brilliance, including four (mostly) glorious seasons with the Rangers from 1989-1993. Then he helped construct the Texas Rangers teams that won back-to-back AL Pennants in 2010 and 2011 as a member of the front office.
There was no doubt Nolan Ryan was on the back end of his career, if not on the verge of retirement, when he joined Texas after spending much of the 1980s in Houston. But a legend is still a legend. And filthy.
Clayton Kershaw could pull a Nolan Ryan and finish his legendary career with the Texas Rangers
We can draw many of the same parallels to Clayton Kershaw, the legendary lefty who is currently a free agent after spending his entire career (so far) with the LA Dodgers.
And Kershaw is undoubtedly a legend of the highest order, with multiple Cy Youngs, a no-no, a pitching triple crown and in 2020, a World Series Champion. He’s one of this generation’s Nolan Ryans, to be sure.
So wouldn’t it just be natural for him to spend some of his “declining” years with the Texas Rangers? It wouldn’t be the worst thing for his career. And if Nolan Ryan is any example, Kershaw could have plenty of success in Arlington.
But you don’t even have to go as far back as The Ryan Express to see just how proficient the Texas Rangers have been at reviving the careers of aging or perceived as declining pitchers. Lance Lynn, anyone? Kyle Gibson last season? Colby Lewis? Even Cole Hamels?
What’s clear is that the Rangers have had success with getting the most out of pitchers that come here in search of a new identity, or simply as a place to build themselves back up after flaming elsewhere.
Clayton Kershaw can be that next veteran reclamation project for Texas. At 33, he’s still young enough to deliver quality innings and be an ace-type for someone’s rotation. He’s got plenty of experience, a connection to manager Chris Woodward and perhaps most importantly, he has a family in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, where he could benefit from pitching at home while taking care of loved ones, including a newborn.
The Nolan Ryan-Clayton Kershaw comparison isn’t exactly cut and dry, but it’s pretty close. Nolan Ryan finished his illustrious career in Arlington with the Texas Rangers.
And now Kershaw, a legend in his own right, has the chance to do the same.