There’s only one Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, but it seems like the Texas Rangers are trying their hardest to emulate them.
The Dodgers are one of MLB’s success stories of the last half-decade or so, having made the playoffs every year since 2013 and winning a World Series in 2020. Their strong player development has churned out diamonds in the rough like Chris Taylor and Max Muncy while also promoting multiple top prospects to the highest level. But they’re also not afraid to be aggressive with money when necessary, finding ways to constantly upgrade their roster (i.e. the Trea Turner/Max Scherzer deal this past season).
It’s pretty evident that the Texas Rangers want to be this. I mean, what organization wouldn’t want to have the success LA has had recently, but it feels like the Rangers in particular are trying to follow the Dodgers’ blueprint to long-lasting success.
The Texas Rangers are trying to become the LA Dodgers
Manager Chris Woodward would be an obvious starting point in this attempt to build a Dodgers culture in Arlington. Prior to signing an extension to remain as Rangers skipper through 2023 with an option for 2024 earlier this week, Woodward was hired from LA, where he served as their third base coach.
Having that first-hand experience from all the winning he did in LA, Woodward is trying to bring that to Texas. And even if the results have been less than optimal so far, the lack of talent around him is not his fault.
But it’s clear the organization believes “Woody” has what it takes to lead the Texas Rangers through lean times and what should be an ascension back to competitive baseball in relatively short order. And why not? The players like him, he’s a calming presence and he’s trying to build a good baseball culture in Arlington. It’s also great to have some element of consistency while so much else on the big league level is changing seemingly by the day.
Perhaps even more important, though, are his connections to Los Angeles.
The Rangers have been linked to Dodger free agents Corey Seager, Chris Taylor and Clayton Kershaw in some form this off-season, and all of them would be welcomed with open arms to Texas. All of these players’ tenures in LA coincided with Woody’s at one point or another, and that’s not insignificant: it’s actually one of the Rangers’ best selling points.
It’s also worth noting that the Rangers claimed OF D.J. Peters from the Dodgers this past season, as well as trading for RHPs Dennis Santana and Josh Sborz. Oh, and the Yu Darvish trade landed them former Dodgers Willie Calhoun and A.J. Alexy. This team is littered with LA talent. The Chris Woodward connection has surely factored into that.
But wait, there’s more! The Rangers hired former Dodgers hitting coach Tim Hyers as part of Woody’s staff for 2022. You may as well call them the Texas Dodgers.
The Rangers, like LA, are also looking to be aggressive with money, willing to forfeit draft picks to make immediate upgrades but also knowing that their farm system is in a good place and only getting better.
This next window of contention is one the Rangers would like to keep open for as long possible. Seeing how long the Dodgers have managed to keep their window open is definitely a reason to emulate their organizational strategy. Successfully recruiting Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager and/or Chris Taylor would only further give credence to the idea that the Rangers are, in fact, trying to become the Dodgers.
And we’re not going to complain about that.