Rangers lucked out avoiding Clayton Kershaw in free agency as injuries mount

Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers
Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Every offseason for the past three years it feels like the Rangers have been involved in talks withClayton Kershaw. The future Hall of Famer has been with the Los Angeles Dodgers for all 17 years of his big league career and the only reason he'd ever leave would be to join the Texas Rangers so he could be closer to home.

The 36-year-old southpaw was born in Dallas, Texas, where he played high school football and baseball at Highland Park high school. Drafted by the Dodgers seventh overall in 2006, he began his legendary career under the bright lights in Los Angeles. Kershaw has accumulated 76.8 WAR, 2944 strikeouts, and three Cy Young awards. He was also recognized as the National League MVP in 2014.

The last few years, however, haven't been as kind to the veteran. Dealing with all sorts of injuries through the last five years has essentially left him a part-time player — he hasn't made 25 or more starts in a season since 2019. That's a tough blow for someone who is commonly known as one of the most talented players of all time.

It was just reported that Kershaw will be shut down for some time with yet another shoulder injury —the same shoulder he had surgery on in the offseason. In the end, it seems the Rangers avoided huge trouble signing Kershaw to any type of deal the last few offseasons. His frequent absences have hurt LA and his last two playoff blowups directly contributed to the team's elimination.

Already having pitching injury trouble as it is with Max Scherzer, Jacob Degrom, Tyler Mahle etc. on the IL, it would have just been devastating for Texas to see another star pitcher getting paid a lot of money to rehab with a questionable timetable for return.

As for Kershaw, this is presumably his final season and we're very hopeful he makes a triumphant return. The Dodgers, however, as a serious title contender, can't possibly rely on him to help them in 2024, and the Rangers should at least be glad that's not their reality.