Clayton Kershaw has spent his entire career as a Los Angeles Dodger. A Gold Glove winner, three-time Cy Young Award winner, a seven-time All-Star, I'm sure we can and will keep going. He's our modern day Nolan Ryan. John Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the "clubhouse guess" is it's likely that Kershaw will opt out of his current deal and leave $65m on the table, so who are the five teams that have a shot at poaching him?
New York Yankees
The Yankees made huge moves this offseason, particularly trading for slugger Giancarlo Stanton. They love throwing that money around and should have plenty left to do so come 2019. That was part of why the Stanton move was so brilliant for them. I think most thought because it would give them enough space to sign Bryce Harper to a wild and unnecessary contract when it came time to do so. But if the Yankees will spend any money like that, they're better off doing so on Kershaw. The Bombers could use a real front end of the rotation ace to pair with Luis Severino and to make that lineup of sluggers complete. Now if only they could unload Jacoby Ellsbury's deal!
Another team who'll have money to spend in 2019. But as Heyman mentions in his article, this is Kershaw's home state and if they're willing to offer him a nice deal, I don't see why he wouldn't take it. To play for your home team is, at times, a ballplayer living the dream. Not to mention, it would make my Nolan Ryan comparison from earlier complete. Having Kershaw would be a game changer for the Rangers, who have been on the cusp of being contenders these past few years but never seem to get there. The team is off to its worst start in the franchise history. Kershaw could be that piece to build around even if it's just over the next two or three years.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The only thing I would find more admirable than Kershaw deciding to head home to finish his career is if he stayed with the team that built him. Dodgers owner Mark Walter has made it clear that he would love for Kershaw to remain a "Dodger for life."
I'm sure Dodger fans would love nothing more than that as well. Even if he opts out, it doesn't necessarily mean that the Dodgers won't be one of those teams that try to steal him back for the rest of his career. I could be wrong, but Kershaw doesn't strike me as the guy that just wants to get paid and keep moving. He could be in Dodger Blue for the rest of his career.
As a Mets fan, this would be an absolute nightmare for me. But if the Nationals don't re-sign Bryce Harper, Kershaw will come at a much cheaper price. Then what does that rotation look like? They've already got Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. Adding Clayton Kershaw to that mix would be deadly for the rest of the NL East. The Nats' payroll will still be above the league average next season, and signing Kershaw could take up a nice chunk. However, considering they've still never won a postseason series, it feels like they would be willing to make that extra push to sign him.
Could you imagine Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw a 1-2 punch in the rotation again? The D-backs wasted no time in poaching Greinke from the Dodgers a few years ago. A division rival, it wouldn't surprise me if they tried to nab Kershaw as well, though I can't see any kind of real motivation for Kershaw to end up in Arizona. In fact, he would likely become the ultimate villain of Los Angeles fans if he became a desert snake. Still, anything is possible. Even Johnny Damon played for the Yankees right?