The Texas Rangers will finally have the ability to start signing players Monday, November 8th when the GM meetings begin. Teams and players will most likely be unwilling to sign large contracts though, as the CBA is in flux. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean NO signings.
The Rangers have a lot of holes to fill, point blank. Right now, the only position players with any certainty of starting are Adolis Garcia, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Nathaniel Lowe, and the backstop duo of Jose Trevino and Jonah Heim. That gives you an outfielder, an infielder, a first baseman, and the catchers.
As for the rotation, it’s much of the same. Dane Dunning is the lead man, Spencer Howard has enough potential to get another shot. Taylor Hearn has earned a look as well. That leaves at least 2 spots to be filled.
I’ll be taking a look at the profiles of players who may be of interest to the Rangers (just about everyone with a pulse) and how they could fill out the team. I’ll also place them in tiers to give an idea of what they could provide for the team.
- Tier 1- All-Star caliber
- Tier 2- Above average starter
- Tier 3- Everyday player
- Tier 4- Contributor
For further clarification, Tier 1 will be the guys you sign as centerpieces who you hope will be competing for the all-star game year in and year out. Tier 2 will be guys who may make an all-star game but will be a reliable piece (Nick Castellanos, for example, falls in the Tier 1/Tier 2 category). Tier 3 are the individuals signed as everyday role players but could be replaced with poor performance. Tier 4 are the guys signed as depth from the bench or AAA. The variance would be guys like Holt of Culberson, signed as tier 4 guys but had good enough springs to be frequent players.
Texas Rangers Free Agent Profile: Michael Lorenzen
- 5.59 ERA
- 29 IP
- 4 saves
- 21 SO/ 14 BB
Career Numbers (7 years):
- 4.07 ERA
- 473.1 IP
- 14 saves
- 26 Starts
- 406 SO/ 197 BB
- 107 ERA+
Lorenzen was drafted 38th overall in 2013 and was looked at as a relatively positive prospect. He was the Reds 4th ranked prospect (just ahead of Anthony DeSclafani) in 2015 before making his debut. He showed flashes of success before injuries started taking their toll. He spent the majority of his career in relief, making only 5 starts after his freshman year. The Reds also dabbled with him as a 2-way player, putting him in the outfield. Though he does have a fairly nice 7 homers in 133 at-bats, he’s not going to be looked at offensively. He’s not of interest to the Rangers as a reliever either.
In an interview with Bobby Nightingale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Lorenzen states he is willing to take a chance on himself and wants a role as a starting pitcher. Wait, did you say an injury-prone relief pitcher as an actual STARTING pitcher? Yeah, well that’s where the Rangers are at.
I noted his career ERA+ as an example of the success he could have. ERA+ is adjusted earned run average where a score of 100 means you average. His 107 means he’s just above average throughout his career. In fact, in 2019 his ERA+ was a robust 160, He also only allows homers at a .98/9IP rate which is a nice change of pace from the current state. Now that’s definitely stretching things a little bit but the point is, there’s a chance with Lorenzen
The Texas Rangers are still coming out of a necessary rebuild and are not expected to compete in 2022. If Lorenzen is truly dead set on being a starter, he’s likely to take a cheap 1-year deal at about $5 million. If the Rangers feel good about him, they could do a 3 year deal with options and incentive-laden. One last stat, his career WHIP is 1.371, eerily similar to Taylor Hearn’s 1.385. This comparison can be made in multiple ways from the career starter-relief-starter transition to the hope that Lorenzen could bring in the rotation. At worst, the Rangers picked up a decent bullpen piece that can be flipped. This is the kind of buy-low move that can pay dividends for the future.