Cross two names off…the Texas Rangers free agent list is fading rapidly
By Travis Koch
Just like that, two of the Texas Rangers’ supposed targeted free agents are off the market. Does this upset them or were they just testing the market?
It was less than 24 hours ago that I published a piece on three free agents the Texas Rangers are publicly targeting. Since then, two of those free agents have found other teams to play for in 2019. J.A. Happ is headed back to the New York Yankees and Charlie Morton has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The lone survivor is Lance Lynn.
This news should not come as a surprise. Happ had received a ton of attention over the past four days and the Charlie Morton market seemed to have really heated up yesterday afternoon. It was only a matter of time (hours, apparently) before each starting pitcher signed somewhere.
Based on early speculation, it doesn’t seem the Rangers have decided on a surefire approach to the offseason. They started by signing a few ho-hum veteran pitchers in Jesse Chavez, Edinson Volquez and Drew Smyly. All three have the potential to contribute nicely in 2019; however, none stand out as catalysts to the long-term project.
Then, yesterday, they popped up in rumors surrounding some of the top remaining free agents starting pitchers on the market. Who knows how strongly they pursued, but you’d like to think the rumors actually meant something.
I get losing out on Happ to the Yankees. Yet, how hard is it to beat out Tampa Bay? Sure they won 90 games in 2018, but the Rangers can’t push a brand-new stadium in 2020 over Tropicana Field? They can’t match or exceed a two-year/$30 million offer? They can’t sign a guy who lived just a few hours south of Arlington for the last two years?
Maybe the Rangers did throw the kitchen sink at Morton and he just decided the Rays were the better fit.
To be frank, I didn’t think Happ nor Morton were good options for the Texas Rangers. There are more suitable choices out there. It’s just the principal of the matter that I’m struggling with. If Texas truly wants to sign someone then they should be able to do it. They have plenty to offer free agent pitchers.
This turned into a bit of an unintended rant. I just want to see the Texas Rangers commit to a strategy beyond filling space for 2019. The offseason presents the opportunity to sign a player or two that encourages fans to show up next year. It also presents the opportunity to spring board more immediate contention.