We are less than a week away from Christmas day and a future Hall-of-Fame pitcher still sits on the shelf waiting to be signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers or Texas Rangers. Clayton Kershaw, who resides in the offseason outside of Dallas, is still undecided on who to play for in 2024. In 2021 Kershaw waited until after the lockout to sign with the Dodgers. In 2022 he signed in November shortly after the start of the offseason. It was assumed that he would continue to sign these one-year deals with LA as he has the last two seasons. That was before the signing of Shohei Ohtani and the trade for Tyler Glasnow. It also was before the flirtation with Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. I think it is time to seriously consider whether Texas is a serious contender for Kershaw and why that would be a very smart decision by this front office.
Is Texas actually "in play" to sign Clayton Kershaw?
Kershaw has made millions throughout his career and so money is not what is going to decide where he plays. He wants to win. Texas can now sell Kershaw on being able to win it all in Arlington. That was certainly not the case before when Texas was coming off a 60-win season and a 68-win season after the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Playing close to home looks more alluring when a team wins a World Series like Texas did last month.
Kershaw's last playoff memories with Los Angeles are not pleasant ones. The Dodgers were just swept by Arizona in the Divisional Round and lost a four-game series to the San Diego Padres in 2022. The Dodgers are making vast improvements and will return Walker Buehler in 2024, but is that enough to shake the bad feelings left over from the last two playoff appearances for the Dodgers.
Texas can offer proximity to home, the money he is looking for, and the ability to compete for a World Series in an American League that is winnable. I think Kershaw is taking all of this into consideration and is giving more consideration to Texas now than he has in previous offseasons. Kershaw would have the ability to play with his former teammate Corey Seager, and be in the same rotation with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer for at least one season. Those are two reasons why the left-hander might want to bring his overhand curveball to the Lone Star State.