Clayton Kershaw has remained firm that he will focus on helping the Los Angeles Dodgers instead of thinking about the possibility of becoming a free agent after the 2018 MLB season. However, there is still a growing speculation that the superstar pitcher will opt out of his contract in the offseason.
Kershaw is being linked to a possible move to his hometown team Texas Rangers. However, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports believes that the talks about Kershaw moving to the Rangers should be taken with a grain of salt, saying that the 30-year-old will likely stay with the Dodgers moving forward.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that six of the 43 general managers, assistant general managers, personnel directors, and scouts that they surveyed believe that Kershaw is playing in his final season with the Dodgers. Four of the six said that the superstar starter will likely move to the Rangers, one picked the Houston Astros, and one selected the New York Yankees as Kershaw's next destination.
However, Heyman is convinced that a Kershaw-to-Rangers scenario is a long shot, saying that the talks about it are just "mere supposition" at this point of the season. He pointed out that Kershaw and the Dodgers appear to have a good working relationship, and a fallout is highly unlikely.
Even if Kershaw decides to opt out of his contract after this season, Heyman pointed out that it does not necessarily mean that he would leave Los Angeles. The left-hander could just look for a way to "enhance his economic standing" in the next several years. He cited the previous case of Alex Rodriguez, who opted out of his contract in 2007 but remained with the Yankees for a then-record deal of $275 million for 10 years.
Even if Kershaw demands a lucrative contract, Heyman believes that the Dodgers will do everything to keep him because the 11-year veteran is an icon in Los Angeles. He also pointed out that the Dodgers cannot afford to let him walk away similar to Zack Greinke's case in 2015 because they do not have a clear-cut No. 2 starter this season.
It is also worth noting that Dodgers owner Mark Walter appears willing to keep Kershaw at all cost. Walter said that the seven-time All-Star should be a "Dodger for life" because of what he has accomplished in Los Angeles, according to another report from Heyman last month.
"I couldn't possibly say anything that hasn't been said about Clayton Kershaw," Walter said of the 2014 NL MVP, who has a 1.73 ERA and 31 strikeouts in four starts this season. "He's something special."