Should the Phillies look at Clayton Kershaw if he opts out?

One of the greatest pitchers of our generation could be an option for the Phillies

After losing to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, future Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw has a tough decision to make. The lifelong Dodger ace can opt out of his contract and become a free agent, or stick to his current deal with Los Angeles.

If Kershaw does decide to opt out, something MLB Network’s J.P. Morosi thinks is a possibility, could the Phillies make a play for the right-hander.

A first-ballot Hall of Famer, Kershaw’s resume is undeniably one of the greatest of all-time. He’s won three Cy Young awards, a Triple Crown, and MVP, and seven ERA titles. From 2011-17 he’s finished in the top-five for the Cy Young and only once did he fall outside of the top-three.

Kershaw turns 31-years-old in March and has dealt with back injuries in recent years. He has made at least 26 starts each of the last two years but he hasn’t pitched more than 175 innings since 2015.

By opting out of his contract with Los Angeles, Kershaw forfeits two years and $70.1 million, according to Spotrac.

Just because Kershaw opts out of his deal with Los Angeles doesn’t rule out him returning. This might be the last time the veteran can sign a long-term deal and lock up more guaranteed money.

Teams will likely want some sort of an injury clause in Kershaw’s deal, which isn’t uncommon. The Phillies made Cole Hamels’ deal specify that if he missed extended time with an arm injury then his 2019 option wouldn’t vest.

Having something similar for Kershaw protecting a team from an arm or back injury is only fair given the time he’s missed and the money being spent.

Philadelphia can afford to pay Kershaw whatever he wants, but is this the right situation for him? Kershaw needs a championship ring to help boost his legacy as one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. There’s little reason for him to leave a team that appeared in back-to-back World Series for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs

The Phillies certainly need another pitcher, maybe two, in their starting rotation behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. Right now it’s a mix of Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, and Jerad Eickhoff. Throw in prospects Enyel De Los Santos, Ranger Suarez, and Cole Irvin for good measure.

There are a lot of arms in the Phillies system, but few are ready to make 30 starts a year and be a consistent number two or three arm.

Chalk this up as unlikely, but anything can happen in baseball and the Phillies are ready to spend.