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Hot Stove: Rangers 'In Contact' With Clayton Kershaw

The manager of the Texas Rangers all but confirmed the club's interest in Clayton Kershaw.

Since the offseason began, the Texas Rangers have cast a wide net in the free agent pool in hopes of moving on from tear-down mode and pivoting toward contention. Even so, some of the same names have been tied to the Rangers in reports.

One of those names is Dallas native and future Hall of Fame hurler Clayton Kershaw. He's only pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in his storied career, and wasn't even extended a qualifying offer as a courteous gesture to give him all the time he needs to decide his future.

Among his decisions, it seems like one of two scenarios will play out: He'll either re-sign with the Dodgers or opt to play near his home in Dallas and sign with the Rangers.

In an interview with MLB Network's High Heat on Monday, Rangers manager Chris Woodward confirmed all reports of the Rangers' interest in the 33-year-old southpaw when he was asked if they've spoken with Kershaw about coming to Texas to lead a young rotation toward years of contention.

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"I know we've been in contact with him. ... Kersh and I are obviously really good friends. We believe in the same things as far as how to play the game; how to prepare. I've been honored to be around him for the three years I was in L.A. If he wants to come back to Texas, I'm pretty sure we're gonna welcome him here. It's home for him. I know he'd love to take his kids to school then go pitch a game that night. But it's up to him. He's had a tremendous legacy. I can't speak enough just about the man himself after watching him for three years and being around him. It'd be a tremendous asset for us, especially with a young rotation. We've got a ton of talent on the starting staff, but they're all young. His leadership and his guidance—honestly, he wouldn't have to say a word. I would just ask those guys to just watch him—watch him prepare and watch how he goes about his business—and they're going to naturally get better."

The x-factor in Kershaw's decision is the state of his health. He was limited to only 121 2/3 innings in 2021 due to a forearm injury, which he also reaggravated in his final start of the season, forcing him to miss the postseason. He's received a platelet-rich plasma injection and maintains there is no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and that he'll be ready for spring training next season.

When he was healthy last season, he was still a very effective pitcher. No, it's not the Kershaw of old. However, he still posted a 10-8 record with a 3.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 3.00 FIP and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

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