It’s Thursday and MLB free agency is officially open meaning any free agent player can talk to and sign with any team they wish. The Texas Rangers will not have a 500+ million dollar free agency like they did last winter but Texas still figures to be one of the more active teams in the industry.
Owner Ray Davis, GM Chris Young, and Manager Bruce Bochy have all committed to upgrading the team as they see best fit. On Monday in Las Vagas at the MLB GM meetings, Chris Young emphasized the financial freedom that Owner Ray Davis has given him.
Here is your complete guide to 2022-2023 Texas Rangers free agency.
I think it’s important that we start by establishing that this offseason will be focused on pitching, more specifically starting pitching. However, there is still room for Texas to make some free-agent additions both in the bullpen and in the outfield.
Starting Pitching – There is no doubt that the Rangers are going to try to land the big fish in the starting pitching market this winter. Nothing is off the table for the Rangers here. Although, the top of the market won’t be where Texas consumes all of its energy, as there are still middle-of-the-rotation guys they could be after
Jacob deGrom – There has been much made of the best pitcher in all of baseball potentially making his home in the Lone Star State. The Mets are becoming more and more likely to lose the right-hander every day, especially after re-signing closer Edwin Diaz to a 5 year $102 million deal. The Rangers have the money and certainly the need for someone like deGrom but can they land him remains to be seen?
Carlos Rodon – I think that the big fish the Rangers are going to land in free agency is going to be Carlos Rodon. In his first and most likely only season with the Giants Rodon went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA. Quietly Rodon has put together a very solid past two seasons and may be an absolute win if the Rangers can land him.
Clayton Kershaw – As I’ve stated multiple times, one of the number one things that I will be watching this offseason is if the Rangers can pry Clayton Kershaw away from the Dodgers. Much like it was last winter, Kershaw’s status remains a two-team conversation between the Dodgers and the Rangers. All more than likely Kershaw would not come in and become your ace that throws 200 innings but could still have a very solid impact on this Rangers rotation which struggled mightly in 2022.
Kodia Senga – The Rangers have a track record of landing Japanese starters (Yu Darvish, Kohei Arihara). Texas won’t be alone in trying to land the foreign righty as the Cubs, Yankees and other teams were all rumored to have an interest. Senga could be a potential star and teams are already lining up to sign him. This could be an interesting cycle but we’ll have to monitor the Rangers’ interest level.
Resigning Martin Perez- Bringing 2022 all-star Martin Perez back seems to be a top priority for the Rangers this winter. The two sides are “not close” to a contract extension. It seems that a qualifying offer is likely. We’ll see if there is a deal soon but one thing is for certain and that’s the fact that Martin Perez is a very good starter and needs to be a Texas Ranger in 2023.
The Middle of the Rotation Starters – All you need to know here, is that there are a lot of middle-of-the-rotation starters that could end up here in Texas. This obviously won’t be the Rangers’ top priority, however, it would not be out of the equation for the Rangers to grab a veteran starter to fill in the 4 or 5 spots in the rotation. Some of those names would include Michael Wacha, Ross Stripling, Chris Bassitt, or Nathan Eovaldi.
The Bullpen – I think that this offseason, the Rangers are not going to be huge spenders on bullpen arms. I believe that they have what it takes internally to have a solid bullpen. If they let guys like Brock Burke, Jose Leclerc, and Jonathan Hernandez lead the charge and hopefully hit on someone like Jesus Tinoco and Dennis Santana.
Resigning Matt Moore – One of the top priorities for the Rangers this offseason would be resigning Matt Moore who went 5-2 with a 1.95 ERA. Moore was able to come in a be a huge relief to a bullpen that just was not very good. He was thrown into all types of situations this season and had successes no matter the role.
Possible external additions – I don’t see Texas going out and spending big bucks on a closer but I do think they could add some back-end pieces. Without going into depth some names to watch out for would include Andrew Chafin, Chris Martin, Chad Green, or Corey Knebel.
The Middle of the order bats – Another thing that owner Ray Davis and GM Chris Young have mentioned is grabbing a middle-of-the-order bat to solidify the lineup. That bat is most likely an outfielder who could slide into left or right field.
Andrew Benintendi – If it was a perfect world, Andrew Benintendi would be a Texas Ranger on Opening Day 2023. Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect and the Rangers won’t be the only team aiming to land the former Yankee. Texas does have a shot to land him but it would probably cost more than the other options. I would say that they should go for it but we’ll see how much they value Benintendi.
Joc Pederson – I don’t see this option as very likely but maybe the Rangers try to make a swing for Joc Pederson. It would not be a terrible addition to the middle of the lineup but I think it would definitely be interesting.
Joey Gallo – Here you go Rangers fans, maybe Joey Gallo could be headed back to Texas. He won’t be anywhere close to the value that the Rangers traded him for but he still could be a solid option in left field and could heat up at the plate. Also with the shift going away in 2023, this could end up as the steal of the offseason.
The Rangers will not have another $500+ winter but they will actively seek to improve their team. With the potential to land guys like deGrom or Kershaw, this offseason looks to be just as exciting for Rangers fans.