It looks like the Texas Rangers are playing a game of patience in a potential pursuit of former National League winner Cy Young and Dallas native Clayton Kershaw.
MLB Network Reported general manager meetings in Las Vegas as the Rangers wait to hear if the southpaw is ready to buy his services from a team other than the Los Angeles Dodgers before diving into any potential negotiations.
The report says Rangers general manager Chris Young and Kershaw have a good relationship. Both graduated from the same high school, Highland Park.
The report also noted that it’s likely a two-team race between the Dodgers and Rangers, but it’s a decision that’s a long way off.
The Rangers are also trying to negotiate a long-term deal with Martin Perez before Thursday’s qualifying bid deadline, but an MLB report said the two sides are far apart.
Kershaw has been with the Dodgers his entire career. The Dodgers’ 2006 first-round pick made his MLB debut in 2008 and is 197-87 in his 15-year career. The 34-year-old has three National League Cy Young Awards, nine All-Star Game appearances and a World Series ring in 2020. He was also the NL Most Valuable Player in 2014.
Kershaw was an All-Star in 2022 and finished the season with a 12-3 record and 2.28 ERA.
With the Dodgers, he reached the playoffs 12 times, including each of the past 10 seasons. The Dodgers look set to make a playoff run again.
Would Kershaw trade Dodger Blue for a Rangers organization that just lost six seasons?
Well, last year he thought about it, according to the Los Angeles Times. Kershaw eventually signed a one-year, $17 million contract with the Dodgers.
Rangers are a different organization now. Rangers hired Bruce Bochy as manager in October, who knows Kershaw well from managing the San Francisco Giants. There’s a lot of respect for Bochy in all of baseball. Hiring the Rangers as a pitching coach could also change the math.
Rangers are also in a position where they could overpay to lure Kershaw home.
While the Rangers have a 2023 payroll of less than $100 million, the Dodgers have an active payroll of $124 million, but a total payroll of nearly $160 million when wages are taken into account. suspended, including that of pitcher Trevor Bauer.
You also have to think about Kershaw’s injury history. The southpaw has had three seasons in which he constantly struggled with injuries, as recently as 2021 when he missed the playoffs with arm injuries.
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