No team in baseball was more active in free agency than the Texas Rangers prior to the MLB lockout.
Jon Daniels and Chris Young convinced ownership to add $561 million worth of free agent contracts to the books (in total value) and the result was the new best middle infield in baseball with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, a rotation upgrade in Jon Gray and a veteran outfielder in Kole Calhoun. And the best part is that the Texas Rangers aren’t expected to be done once the lockout is lifted.
The team has interest in Japanese phenom outfielder Seiya Suzuki and other players on both the free agent and trade markets, but the Rangers’ first move out of the lockout should be to address an area of glaring weakness (to be fair, there’s many): starting pitcher. And specifically, Clayton Kershaw.
The Texas Rangers’ first move after the lockout should be signing Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw, coming off a 2021 in which he posted a 3.55 ERA at 33 years old, is a Dallas-area native. He’s had his fair share of injury concerns the last few seasons, but last season especially, when he missed the playoffs.
Still, what Kershaw brings to Texas is more than just a pitcher. He brings leadership to a young clubhouse, winning pedigree, and yes, gives this otherwise bad rotation a huge lift.
The southpaw isn’t a long-term solution by any means, nor should he be. Even better, the Texas Rangers don’t need him to be, since they’ve got a bevy of intriguing prospect pitchers coming up through the pipeline, such as the likes of Cole Winn, Jack Leiter, Ricky Vanasco, Owen White, T.K. Roby and others.
But those young guns will need a mentor once they arrive in Arlington, and there’s no better mentor than one of the best pitchers of this generation, a future Hall of Famer and a World Champion.
Kershaw is expected to take his time making a decision about 2022, but as long as he’s playing, it’ll be for the Dodgers or the Rangers. And Texas should make sure they make Kershaw their priority once the lockout is over.