In our FanSided offseason simulation, upgrading the rotation was a top priority but the market did not develop as originally planned.
Our mock MLB offseason simulation is wrapping up here at FanSided and while bolstering the Texas Rangers rotation was one of our top goals, the faux free agent market didn’t really pan out like we anticipated. Entering the simulation, we had eyes on adding one of the better starters on the market and particularly zeroed in on Hyun-Jin Ryu. With the way our “free agency” was formatted, we had to structure what targets we pursued first because each free agent had a 24-hour bidding window that opened the minute they received a first bid.
What Were Our Top Options?
We kept an eye on the Gerrit Cole market along with Stephen Strasburg. We felt like we were best suited looking towards the second tier of starters like Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and the aforementioned Ryu. As a whole, adding an impact starter was a major goal but the prices skyrocketed well beyond what we were comfortable paying especially at the top end of the market. Cole signed an 8-year deal worth $289 million which felt like a heavy investment for where our club is currently at. Strasburg we never pursued with his cost trailing by Cole by just a bit annually and producing not nearly on the same level.
Wheeler was a pitcher we were heavily interested in but with his significant injury past, giving him six years at $25 million per year was just a risk we weren’t willing to take. Madison Bumgarner’s contract didn’t trail far behind Wheeler’s at five years, $24 million per year. As mentioned above, our mock Rangers front office zeroed in heavily on Ryu, feeling like he would be more economical than the other four starting pitchers at the top of the market. That assumption was off base. Ryu, who like Wheeler has an extensive injury past signed for more per year than both Wheeler and Bumgarner at $26.33 million per over three seasons. We were willing to go four years on Ryu, something we were hesitant about, but our final bid was just $19 million per year and we couldn’t justify meeting the annual salary for a 33-year old pitcher with significant injury history.
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So Who Did We Decide On?
In the end, we inked Julio Teheran to a faux two-year, $20 million deal to be our mid-rotation starter signing. Teheran is coming off a solid year with the Braves albeit disappointing compared to expectations for the former top prospect. He made 33 starts for Atlanta last season posting a 3.81 ERA and a 4.66 FIP. In 174.2 innings he struck out 162, walked 83 and surrendered 74 earned runs. His 1.6 fWAR, while not eye-popping, would’ve been third best in the Rangers rotation last season trailing only Lance Lynn (6.8) and Mike Minor (4.2).
With the mock signing of Teheran, the Rangers have another starter capable of consistent outings for the next two seasons. With the rotation as currently constructed in our offseason sim, Teheran would be the number three starter for Texas. The dollar amount seems fair considering his production and at only 29 by the start of next season, the upside is still there for Teheran to hit his once thought sky-high potential. Even if he sticks where he’s been though, a $20 million commitment over the next two seasons seems more than reasonable.