The Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have agreed to terms on a one year deal, per multiple reports. Kershaw will miss the first half of the 2024 season rehabbing from shoulder surgery, but hopes to be ready to go at some point in the second half of the season.
My reaction to seeing this was, oh, yeah, Kershaw hadn’t actually returned to the Dodgers before now. The lefty, who turns 36 in March, has widely been reported to be interested in playing for only two teams at this stage of his career — the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he has spent his entire career, or his hometown Texas Rangers.
The Rangers have three starting pitchers who won’t be available until the second half, in Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, and Tyler Mahle, so at first blush, one would think that the Rangers would have no interest in Kershaw anyway. However, he’s Clayton Kershaw, local boy and future Hall of Famer, and if he was interested in coming back to Texas, even if he would be out for at least the first three months, the Rangers would definitely be interested.
Kershaw had a seven year stretch from 2011-17 where he won an MVP Award, three Cy Young Awards, finished second in the Cy Young balloting twice, third once, and fifth once. Since then he’s gone from being the best pitcher on the planet to just a really fucking good pitcher, albeit one who has battled health issues. Kershaw hasn’t made 30 starts in a regular season since 2015, and has made 24, 22 and 22 starts the last three seasons. Nonetheless, from 2018 to the present, in the decline stage of his career, he’s still put up a 2.77 ERA and 3.36 FIP over 777 innings, including a 2.37 ERA the past two years.