Red Sox: Clayton Kershaw can be a sleeper signing for Boston

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 24: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout during the ninth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 24: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout during the ninth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Clayton Kershaw could solidify the Red Sox rotation

As fans continue to stare off into the distance while the owners and players dig their heels in, we’re left waiting as the Hot Stove grows ice cold. Thanks to the owner-initiated lockout teams and players can’t communicate in any way, shape, or form which means deals won’t be happening for a long time. So while we wait, there’s nothing but time to think about some possible signings and for the Red Sox, I think Clayton Kershaw could be a sleeper.

Let me begin by making it clear that there haven’t been any rumors or whispers linking the Red Sox to Kershaw, but that sure doesn’t mean we can’t daydream a little bit. Los Angeles decided not to offer the longtime Dodger a Qualifying Offer so the big Texan is a free agent. I’m sure some may scoff at the idea of bringing in an expensive and oft-injured pitcher but hear me out.

Boston had no business being as good as they were in 2021 and being so close to the World Series may entice them to go all-in. Kershaw earned $31M this season and per Spotrac, his market value will likely stay in that neighborhood at an estimated $31-32M. It’s also forecasted that he could earn a deal for around three years which at 33-years-old, could be his last big-time contract.

Bloom and the Red Sox are already paying big money to Chris Sale and it is a bit tough to think that they’d want to write another massive check for another aging lefty. But once again, being so close to another banner going up at Fenway Park can make people do crazy things. Chaim achieved what FSG brought him in to do, now it’s time to let him build his team with a nice bankroll to support it.

When I think about Kershaw, three strikes jump out at me and I’ve partially mentioned each of them in the early goings here but let’s dig a bit deeper. The first drawback could be his age.

As I mentioned above he’s 33 and will turn 34 as the season kicks off. While in the grand scheme of life he’s got a lot still in front of him but with 14 years in ‘The Show,’ that age may as well be doubled. If he can have a good tryout once workouts can begin again I think he can make people forget that.

The next strike in the count against Clayton relates to his injury history. He’s spent time on the shelf every year since 2016 with the injuries either being to his back or his arm. Not the best history to carry with you but considering the big lefty from Dallas is 6’4″ and 225 lbs, neither of those injuries is surprising. It takes a hell of a lot of momentum to get that frame moving and his body has paid the price over the years.

And strike three ties right back into the other two as it comes down to the money. His age and injury history make it hard to believe that Chaim would want to offer an AAV of $31M but if 2021 proved anything, he may be worth it. There could always be a way to get the AAV down if a fourth year were to be built or some possible options. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sign for that dollar amount while it also wouldn’t shock me to see him take a deal for less.

So, by now it may seem like I’m not actually into the idea of signing Kershaw but I am. I wanted to lay out some things that could go into a possible decision from the Red Sox in why they may or may not be interested in the southpaw. It’s clear that Boston will be going over the CBT when it’s finally put into effect so why not make it count and shoot for another Commissioner’s Trophy?

I don’t want the team to go out and sign players for the sake of signing players, that never seems to work out for the Red Sox. For every good contract (J.D. Martinez) there’s one equally bad if not worse (Pablo Sandoval). And we all know how smart and calculated Bloom is when it comes to his roster. While other teams were throwing money around before the lockout, he stood his ground and didn’t make a panic signing for a bad price.

I’m not the biggest fan of how much Kershaw will likely command when business opens back up, I could easily be sold if he’s healthy. A healthy Clayton Kershaw in the same rotation as Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, and Nick Pivetta has me feeling some things. Add in the wild card fifth starter and one of Boston’s biggest weaknesses in 2021 is now a massive strength for 2022.

I think other teams wouldn’t expect the Red Sox to make a play for Kershaw which makes it that much more enticing for me. We always hear how the club has an interest in players but we haven’t heard him linked to Clayton whatsoever. Before Thanksgiving, it was reported that the Rangers had made contact with the lefty but this was before they went on a spending spree so they may be out of funds.

I was surprised when the Dodgers didn’t make a QO for Kershaw but I also think they knew he’d never accept it. $31M down to $18.4M is one hell of a pay cut, so why make an effort? It could be possible that LA believes to could still re-sign him at a dollar amount closer to his former salary but not quite the full amount. This is where Bloom needs to strike and find that perfect middle ground to lock up his starting rotation.

I’d like to see Boston make him an offer in the 3-year/$75M, it may be too much of a pay cut for Kershaw but it would be reasonable considering all of the factors. I’ve always been a big fan of his work and I’d love to see him finish out his playing days wearing the Red Sox uniform. It may take some serious spending and a lot of luck but it could be the exact sleeper move that this team needs to get them back to the Fall Classic.

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