Wait, could the Texas Rangers actually have… buyer’s remorse after standing pat at this year’s trade deadline?
It doesn’t seem possible, given that the team’s recent trajectory would’ve made them sellers more than buyers in 2022, but after missing out on trading for a controllable starter at the deadline this year, and with an injury to rotation stalwart Jon Gray, as well as uncertainty behind ace Martin Perez, all eyes will be on the front office to address their pitching staff sooner rather than later.
Since they didn’t strike while the iron was hot on August 2, Texas Rangers GM Chris Young made it a point to say that upgrading the pitching would be the team’s ‘clear top priority’ in the coming winter. This after spending $500+ million to bring in high-end talent last winter.
Texas Rangers have pitching as ‘clear top priority’ this winter after missing out at trade deadline
There were clearly options at this trade deadline if the Rangers wanted to acquire a controllable starter. Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Frankie Montas were among the prime candidates there. The market ended up being expensive for those assets, though, as you’d expect. And Texas elected to retain their prospect depth.
But looking ahead to the off-season, the starter market looks bleak. The best pitcher on the market, Jacob deGrom, is a massive injury risk, but is nonetheless elite despite already being in his mid-30s. Behind him? The injured Chris Sale, the aging David Price, Dodger legend Clayton Kershaw (who almost became a Ranger in 2022), Charlie Morton, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Rodon, Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea and old friend Kyle Gibson. We’ll throw in Tyler Anderson for good measure.
While there may be a lot of names, none besides deGrom (who comes with his own risk) offers true ace potential (OK, maybe Rodon) at this stage of the game. There’s a lot of injury-prone names there. And no other name besides deGrom screams ‘must have’, either.
This is the position Chris Young and Jon Daniels have put themselves in.
Yes, there are more options in free agency, but wouldn’t you rather have Castillo, Montas or Mahle over most of the names above? All three offer more upside too, in general.
Young and Daniels have no choice: they’ve made it clear that pitching is a priority this winter. And it better be with contention in 2023 also on their minds, because the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff as currently constructed is just plain bad.
Having a fantastic group of pitching prospects on the way certainly helps, but they can’t all be saviors: The front office has got to pony up even more money and get the best upgrades they possibly can, because they opted to pass on the talent available at this year’s deadline.