Are the Texas Rangers going to turn their fortunes around in the off season?
The Texas Rangers promised that they would focus on pitching in this off season, and it looks as if they are keeping true to their word.
The Texas Rangers had a steep hill to climb when the 2022 season ended. They missed the post season for the sixth time on the trot and while their dismal 68-94 record was an improvement on 2021, it couldn’t drag them off the floor in the AL West, where they finished in fourth place.
And then there were rumblings, not even rumors, more like a feeling rather than knowledge. Would the Rangers be a dark horse in the off season? Would they pick up a few key players who might turn things around?
After all, they had spent a half a billion dollars before the 2022 season signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. But then again, some investments are immediate and others take time to come to fruition. The Rangers’ middle infield is outstanding, one of the best in baseball, but if it lacks the punch of a strong batting order, or the knockout zip of a dominant bullpen, then it can never be enough.
Bruce Bochy’s new focus
The hiring of Bruce Bochy saw the Rangers put an elite manager in the dugout. As the first foreign-born manager to reach the World Series (Bochy was born in France) when he guided the Padres to the 1998 Fall Classic, and the first European-born manager to win it all when he helmed the Giants to World Series glory in 2010. With a .497 managerial record, his 2,003 career wins place him in the top drawer for MLB teams when looking for a skipper.
Bochy made clear that he only came back out of retirement to win, and he feels that Texas are on the right road to build that winning franchise. Another thing that he made plain is that the priority for the Rangers will be pitching, and that has been brought into sharp relief by the signing of Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million fully guaranteed contract.
Only one year after beefing up their middle infield to the shock of many with the double-signing of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager for half-a-billion dollars, the Rangers look like a team prepared to do it all over again.
Justin Verlander is now off the table, and the overtures that Texas made toward Clayton Kershaw came to naught, but there is still one big arm on the market. The Rangers met with Carlos Rodon only one day after deGrom’s signing, and all indications are that they are a heavy player in the hunt for another top starter.
Rodon is looking for a six-year deal in the ballpark of $180 million and while many teams are balking at the idea of going all-in on a pitcher with such a checkered injury history, the Rangers may be willing to nudge those numbers into their favor.
Their biggest competition for Rodon’s services would seem to be the Mets, who already have Scherzer and Verlander on the books, although reports are circulating that Rodon has a favorable outlook toward Baltimore as well.
Signing the southpaw hurler would not solve all of Texas’ issues, and they would still be on the lookout for a big bat in the outfield, but with the addition of Rodon to a lineup that already includes deGrom, Semien, and Seager, the Rangers would be well positioned as a powerhouse for the coming years.