Why Clayton Kershaw makes so much sense for the Texas Rangers

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Texas Rangers are finally at the fun part of their rebuild. After enduring the back end of some ugly contracts, the Rangers have finally cleared the deck. With a payroll well under $50 million, they have money to spend before they get up to market-level spending limits.

The Texas Rangers are young and financially uncommitted, making free agency this winter an exciting proposition. While we don’t expect them to contend in 2022, not all of their signings need to be focused on the long-term. Signing a short-term player like the soon-to-be 34-year-old, Clayton Kershaw, also makes sense.

Clayton Kershaw is an ideal signing for the Texas Rangers this winter.

The Texas Rangers need to do multiple things this winter. They need to sign a short stop and an outfielder, in addition to a starting pitcher like Kershaw. Luckily for us that seems to be exactly what they intend to do. It would be shocking if the Rangers didn’t sign a top-end SS this offseason. And given their budget, we should also expect at least one more notable veteran starter.

So signing Clayton Kershaw isn’t a move made to replace one of those other positions, but rather a move made to complement the other signings.

With that out of the way, Kershaw makes sense for two big reasons:

  1. He’s a local superstar who sells tickets
  2. He’s still a great player who elevates the club and could/should be able to contribute when Texas is a “contender”.

To the first point, Clayton Kershaw is from Texas, his family loves Texas, so it makes sense he’d be happy to go back to Texas. With a World Series title already on his resume, the comfort of home might be particularly attractive to the 14-year veteran.

Texas Rangers fans haven’t had much to cheer for in recent seasons. They’ve lacked star power and the few fan-friendly players they did have, were dispatched for prospects. Getting someone of Kershaw’s caliber would be marketing gold for a team like Texas – a team that desperately wants to fill this pretty new stadium.

So from a financial standpoint, Kershaw will almost pay for himself as long as he can stay healthy.

To the second point, Kershaw is still a good player. He’s not the best in MLB anymore but he’s still clearly an ace. And on the Texas Rangers he’d serve as a leader and extemporary example to a young stable that features the likes of Dane Dunning, Kolby Allard, Taylor Hearn, A.J. Alexy, and Glenn Otto.

Signed to a three or even four year deal, Kershaw won’t be cheap but he’ll earn his keep being the top pitcher and mentor/leader for all the impressionable talent breaking through.

We can also reasonably assume the Texas Rangers will be contending in the next 1-2 years. If the young players develop as planned and Texas has a successful offseason this year, they could be fighting for the postseason as soon as 2023. So Kershaw could be pitching meaningful postseason games for Texas as soon Year 2 of his deal.

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What do you think? Will Kersh come home?