By now, you know how bad the Rangers bullpen was in 2023. Texas ranked 24th in the MLB with a 4.77 bullpen ERA and converted just 30 of 63 saves.
Following the Rangers first World Series Championship, GM Chris Young has made it a point to revamp the pen. “Improving our bullpen is a priority and we’re making progress,” Young said at the Winter Meetings.
Said progress was made this week when the Rangers signed veteran reliever Kirby Yates to a one-year deal.
The Rangers 2024 bullpen will be filled with new faces as many members from last year’s championship team will be in new places.
Earlier this week, it was announced that both Will Smith and Chris Stratton have reached agreements with the Kansas City Royals on one-year deals.
With that being said, let’s look at five free-agent targets for the Rangers 2024 bullpen.
1. Josh Hader
Ever since the offseason began, the Rangers have been linked to Josh Hader who is the best reliever on the market this winter.
Last season with the Padres, Hader had a 1.28 ERA in 56.1 IP. Hader has been one of the best relievers in all of baseball since he entered the league in 2017.
Other teams such as the Phillies and Dodgers are also rumored to have interest in Hader but there is no doubt that he would be a slam dunk signing for the Texas Rangers.
2. Jordan Hicks
Earlier this offseason it was reported that the Rangers are rumored to have an interest in flamethrower Jordan Hicks. Last season with the Cardinals and Blue Jays Hicks had a 3.29 ERA in 65.2 IP.
Hicks’ best pitch is his fastball which ranks in the 100th percentile of fastball velo and the 87th percentile of fastball run value. Signing Jordan Hicks would add some velocity to the Rangers bullpen which they could be losing if the club does not choose to resign Aroldis Chapman.
3. Hector Neris
Rangers fans have seen plenty of Hector Neris the last two seasons as he has been pitching big innings for the rival Houston Astros. Last season Neris was dominant posting a 1.71 ERA in 68.1 IP.
In the final three games of the ALCS against the Rangers, Neris threw 3.2 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit.
Although the Rangers have yet to publicly express interest in Neris this offseason, he would be a natural fit in the back end of the Texas pen.
4. Matt Moore
In 2022, Matt Moore was arguably the Rangers’ best reliever after posting a 1.95 ERA in 74 innings pitched. This season Moore put up similar numbers while splitting time with the Angles, Guardians, and Marlins.
Moore put up a 2.56 ERA in 52.2 innings pitched in 2023.
We know that Matt Moore has a familiarity with Chris Young and the Rangers front office so this could be a natural fit.
Likely being used in a similar role to which he was used in 2022, Matt Moore could be the multi-inning reliever that the Rangers desperately need in 2024.
5. Keynan Middleton
The name Keynan Middleton probably doesn’t ring a bell for most baseball fans but he is one of the most underrated free agents on the market this offseason.
Last season, Middleton put up a 3.38 ERA in 50.2 innings pitched but after he was traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline, Middleton had an ERA of just 1.88.
If the Rangers are looking for an underrated reliever who they can get on a team-friendly contract then Keynan Middleton might be the perfect guy to call.