Clayton Kershaw rumors: Where things stand if lockout finally ends

Clayton Kershaw is a free agent for the first time in his career, and has a big decision to make after the lockout.

Kershaw has been with the LA Dodgers his whole career to date. Through it all, he’s become not just a legend in blue and white, but in baseball history as well.

So the thought of him leaving Los Angeles, where he’s called home in the big leagues since 2008, has always felt far-fetched. Yet, the 33-year-old finds himself a free agent for the first time in his career after the Dodgers declined to tender him a qualifying offer prior to the lockout.

The industry consensus regarding Clayton Kershaw has likened his trajectory to three outcomes:

Rounding up the latest Clayton Kershaw free agency rumors

The first two scenarios may not come as much of a surprise, but the third one certainly might in the eyes of baseball fans.

Kershaw is a Dallas-area native, born and raised there. He’s also raising his own family in Texas, including a newborn child this winter. It makes sense that the future Hall of Famer would want to settle down with his family close to home, and the Texas Rangers would provide that for Kershaw while still allowing him to pitch every fifth day.

The 33-year-old has expressed a desire to win, however, which the Texas Rangers can’t provide in 2022. The hope is that they’ll contend by 2023. If Kershaw truly values coming home enough, he might be willing to sacrifice a year of winning to be close to his family, knowing also that the Rangers plan to be competitive again sooner rather than later.

Not to mention, the Rangers have lots of money to spend, evidenced by their pre-lockout free agency splashes, among them Clayton Kershaw’s former teammate with the Dodgers, Corey Seager. Former Dodgers coach Chris Woodward manages the club, as if the Dodgers-Rangers ties weren’t evident enough.

But while the Texas Rangers feel like a possibility for Clayton Kershaw, it still doesn’t feel as though he’ll leave Los Angeles. He’s beloved there, and winning in 2022 is all but guaranteed with the Dodgers.

Ultimately, time will tell what Kershaw decides to do. In all likelihood, though, Kershaw is deciding between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers for the 2022 season and beyond.