Similar to Freddie Freeman, Clayton Kershaw is one of those players that you can’t picture in any other uniform. The ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers for almost a decade and a half, Kershaw is a future Hall-of-Famer. In all likelihood, he will enter Cooperstown with a Dodgers cap on. However, at the moment, Kershaw is a free agent. He was not re-signed by Los Angeles before the lockout, so the potential for his departure is still on the table. If he is not returning to the Dodgers, there are plenty of good landing spots for Kershaw.
Probably the greatest pitcher of the generation, Kershaw has done it all. He is an eight-time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, three-time Cy Young, an MVP, and a World Series champion. He has led the NL in ERA five times. His 2.49 career ERA is the best among active players. However, he hasn’t pitched more than 178 2/3 innings since 2015 and he was limited to 121 2/3 innings in 2021 due to an elbow injury. For as great as Kershaw has been in his career, there are questions regarding the soon-to-be 34-year old’s health. There are plenty of teams that would be willing to take that risk though. Here are some potential landing spots for Kershaw.
Boston Red Sox
After coming just a couple games short of a World Series appearance, the Boston Red Sox want to get over that hump in 2022. However, there are a lot of question marks in the rotation. The team still has Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Sale, and Nick Pivetta, but they lost Eduardo Rodriguez to free agency. Tanner Houck pitched well in the postseason, but isn’t a proven starter over the course of a season yet. The Red Sox have taken some chances on guys like Rich Hill, James Paxton, and Michael Wacha this offseason. However, all have long injury histories and struggles with consistency. While Kershaw has had recent injury issues, when he is on the field, few are as consistent as him. The Red Sox have a lot of bodies who can fill innings, but not at the quality in which Kershaw can pitch.
It has been well-documented that Kershaw is a Dallas native so signing with the Texas Rangers would be a homecoming. It has also been well-documented that the Rangers want to be better in 2022. After losing 102 games in 2021, Texas made a big splash earlier in the offseason with the signings of Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Jon Gray. The Rangers likely still have some work to make this team a true postseason contender, but they have made major strides in the past few months. Signing Kershaw would enable them to take another stride forward while also putting more fans in the seats.
Los Angeles Angels
It is a real possibility that Kershaw makes the drive from Dodger Stadium to Angel Stadium. Every year the Los Angeles Angels are a good fit for just about every pitcher. The Angels have been looking for pitching for years now and with little success. Los Angeles was 12th in the AL in team ERA in 2021, with a 4.69 mark. Kershaw would definitely help this team both while on the mound and in the clubhouse. With all the young pitchers on the roster, Kershaw would be an excellent role model and teacher. Just from a baseball fan perspective, it would be awesome to see the best pitcher of the generation (Kershaw) and best position player of the generation (Mike Trout) on the same team.
Kershaw will easily be voted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, but his career isn’t over yet. He will be 34 by Opening Day, but that won’t stop a long list of suitors from attempting to sign the legend. When the lockout is lifted, the line of potential landing spots for Kershaw will be very lengthy.
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