It’s officially been over a week since confetti fell in Arizona and the Rangers won their first World Series Title.
Even the World Champions have to participate in the offseason and for Chris Young and the Rangers front office, that work begins now.
Less than 24 hours after the Rangers World Championship Parade, the club announced that pitchers Andrew Heaney and Jose Leclerc will both be back with the team in 2024.
Andrew Heaney will be opting into his player option for the 2024 season. Heaney’s option will be $13 million after not reaching the innings pitched threshold to make that deal $20 million.
In 2023 Heaney was 10-6 with a 4.15 ERA but was able to find some success once moved to the bullpen in August. The biggest outing of the season for Heaney came in Game four of the World Series where Heaney had a strong start going five innings while allowing just one run.
All more than likely Heaney wasn’t going to get an amazing contract had he opted into free agency so taking his player option was the smart move. Texas will likely use Heaney in the bullpen in 2024 but he could be competing for a rotation spot depending on what type of pitching the Rangers add this winter.
Jose Leclerc started the season as the closer before losing that spot to Will Smith back in late May and early June. However, Leclerc ended up as the Rangers best reliever as he picked up saves in four of the Rangers postseason wins and got the win in Texas 6-5 victory in Game One of the World Series.
The Rangers exercised Leclerc’s team option for the 2024 season and he will make $6.25 million. Even if the Rangers make some big splashes in the bullpen this offseason, it is still likely that Leclerc starts the 2024 season as the closer.
When the 2023 Gold Glove Award winners were announced, three Rangers players would add more hardware to their growing trophy case.
C Jonah Heim, 1B Nathaniel Lowe, and RF Adolis Garica all won their first career Gold Glove awards. Middle infielders Marcus Semien and Corey Seager were also finalists but were beaten out by Guardians Andrés Giménez and Yankees Anthony Volpe respectively.
For the Rangers it was the first time in franchise history in which the team had three Gold Glove winners in the same season. Texas had just two winners (Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo 2020) in the previous six years combined.
Speaking of awards, the Rangers have three finalists for the BWAA awards which will be announced throughout the course of the offseason.
Marcus Semien and Corey Seager were both named finalists for the AL MVP award. The Rangers have never had two players named finalists for the AL MVP in the same season. The last Ranger to win MVP was Josh Hamilton in 2010.
Bruce Bochy was also announced as one of the three finalists for AL Manager of the year. Surprisingly, Bochy has only won a single manager of the year award in 1996 with the Padres but seems like a slam dunk candidate for the award this year.
Finally in free agency news, Mitch Garver did NOT receive the qualifying offer from the Rangers officially making him a free agent. Garver hit 3 home runs and drove in 14 this postseason but hasn’t really been able to stay healthy since coming over from the Twins before the 2022 season.
Along with Garver, Brad Miller, Jake Odorizzi, Robbie Grossman, Will Smith, Travis Jankowski, Chris Stratton, Aroldis Chapman, Martín Pérez and Jordan Montgomery all Elected Free Agency with Ian Kennedy announcing his retirement.
This offseason won’t be another humongous shopping spree for the Rangers but Chris Young did say that Texas will be making moves to improve their team this winter. The preparation for title defense is well underway in Arlington.