Clayton Kershaw was seriously considering the Texas Rangers in free agency this year. For all those that thought he was a lock to return to the LA Dodgers after hitting the open market for the first time were… wrong.
Sure, that’s what ended up happening: Kershaw signed a one-year, $17 million contract to return to Hollywood for the 2022 season. But make no mistake, there was a decision to be made.
Kershaw, a Dallas-area native, gave the Rangers some actual consideration this winter. The idea of pitching back home while raising a young family was definitely appealing to the future Hall of Famer. And while Texas’ pursuit fell short, they have to feel good about their efforts.
Could the Texas Rangers pursue Clayton Kershaw again in 2023 after missing out in 2022?
The timing of the Rangers’ Kershaw pursuit was a bit off, as contention still appears elusive in Arlington. Texas has stated that they intend to be competitive by 2023, which at best is still a season away. And the 33-year-old lefty would rather win now, which makes complete sense.
But manager Chris Woodward and new Ranger Corey Seager must have made one heck of a recruiting pitch to try and lure Kershaw in. It didn’t bear fruit in 2022, but that doesn’t mean it can’t in 2023. Woodward says he’ll always want to have Kershaw on his team.
If the Texas Rangers show drastic improvement this season with all of their new additions, plus the rise of many talented prospects in their minor league system, perhaps that might set the stage for Clayton Kershaw to feel like this team is a viable destination in terms of winning in 2023.
It’s clear where Kershaw’s priorities lay: in winning, not in money. That $17 million he signed with the Dodgers for this season is less than a qualifying offer (around $18 million) would’ve been he had received one from Los Angeles. And for all we know, the Texas Rangers could’ve offered Kershaw in excess of $20 million annually. But winning takes the cake, as it should.
So while Kershaw to the Texas Rangers didn’t happen in 2022, there’s a real chance it could in 2023 if circumstances align once again.