Christmas has come and gone and the Texas Rangers remain fairly quiet in the free-agency market. But as the offseason carries on, Texas has been linked to another aging, and injured, free agent.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Texas Rangers are "continuing their pursuit" of Clayton Kershaw, whom they have been interested in numerous times in the past.
Despite questions regarding his age, the future Hall-of-Famer has remained a quality arm now into his mid-thirties. He has had a sub-2.50 ERA and recorded over 9.5 strikeouts/9 in each of the last two seasons. His 24 starts and 131.2 innings in 2023 are each the most he has recorded since 2019.
Kershaw's average velocity has also not shown much decline at all over the past few seasons contrary to what you have been told; in fact, it has stayed constant. His average fastball velocity in 2018 was 90.8 and was still 90.7 last season.
As for his breaking stuff, Kershaw's swing-and-miss percentage on his breaking ball was better this past year than his World Series year in 2020 holding opposing hitters to a .189 batting average with his slider and curveball.
The catch is that adding Kershaw to the Rangers' rotation would bring in another aging, injured guy to an already-old pitching staff. Kershaw underwent offseason shoulder surgery with the summer of 2024 being cited as a return date.
With the Rangers already having multiple arms on the IL for 2024, they are more than likely reluctant to add Kershaw this offseason.
What this doesn't rule out is a signing later in the season, however. He should be healthy right around the All-Star break and/or trade deadline, so if Kershaw doesn't sign a contract this winter, this would be the time he would find a team.
The numbers and analytics will tell you that Kershaw would be a positive signing for anyone across Major League Baseball -- surgery aside. Especially for the Rangers who have a lot of things in the air regarding anything pitching-related.
The idea of him aging out from being a productive starting pitcher is a misconception. Kershaw has only been an All-Star-caliber player his entire career even into the sunset years of his illustrious career. Kershaw, without a doubt, would make the Texas 2024 rotation better (after he recovers fully).
Now may not be the right time for the DFW native to make his homecoming. But keep a heads up on the Kershaw-Rangers saga that has been going on for years now. It just may conclude in the summer with him finally dawning a Texas uniform.
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