The Los Angeles Dodgers saw 11 players reach free agency the morning after the World Series concluded, including Clayton Kershaw, who has spent his entire career with the organization since being selected in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft.
The left-hander was plagued by injuries this past season, but still pitched to a solid 3.55 ERA, 3.00 FIP and 1.02 WHIP with 144 strikeouts against 21 walks in 121.2 innings.
Kershaw was a prime candidate to receive the $18.4 million qualifying offer, but the Dodgers opted not to extend him one out of respect as it likely would have impacted his market. The 33-year-old now can take all the time he needs in choosing his next team, and almost certainly will have his family in mind when doing so.
While the Dodgers are widely considered a favorite to re-sign Kershaw, there remains the possibility he could choose to return home and sign with the Texas Rangers, or potentially retire.
During a recent episode of the “Big Time Baseball” podcast, MLB insider Jon Heyman suggested the Dodgers and Rangers are the only options for Kershaw in free agency:
“Kershaw is going to end up with either the Dodgers or Texas, assuming he doesn’t retire.”
The Rangers have long been speculated as a potential landing spot for Kershaw as he grew up in Dallas, Texas, and still lives in the area during the offseason with his wife, Ellen, and three children.
With the Rangers looking to make a splash, they could make a compelling pitch to Kershaw if he seriously considers leaving the Dodgers in favor of being closer to home.
In addition to Kershaw, Texas has been linked to Corey Seager and Chris Taylor. Each player has previous ties to manager Chris Woodward, who served as the Dodgers’ third base coach from 2016-18.
Woodward: Rangers in communication with Kershaw
During a recent appearance on MLB Network’s “High Heat,” Woodward acknowledged the team has spoken to Kershaw and would understandably be pleased to sign him.
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