The Texas Rangers’ off-season is almost here. The World Series is in its final days between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies. Immediately after the last out is recorded and the trophy is handed out the off-season officially gets started.
It is that time of year when every fan tries to becomes their own Woj or Jeff Passan and tries to predict the future. Let me put my magical Texas Rangers hat on and make some bold off-season predictions that are sure to fail.
4 bold off-season predictions for the Texas Rangers
1. The Rangers will sign Carlos Rodon
They will end up giving him six years and $170 million. The 6th year will be an option year. The 6th year is what will put them over the top of other teams competing for his services. It will be a masterful sales job by Chris Young as he lures a second former Giant to the Rangers in the span of a few weeks. Texas has also been known to be making a hard push for the lefty.
This contract will be agreed to before the Winter Meetings. They will have that in their pocket as they head to San Diego to help shore up the rest of their roster.
2. The Rangers will sign a recently non-tendered Cody Bellinger
Bellinger will sign a heavily incentivized non-guaranteed one-year deal to rebuild his value and go back onto the free agent market in 2023.
Bellinger, who is represented by Scott Boras, will come to Texas to compete with Leody Taveres for the center-field job in Spring Training. Bellinger will come here to once again be teammates with Corey Seager and out of a desire to play for Bruce Bochy.
3. The Rangers will sign Willson Contreras
He will sign a five-year, $75 million dollar deal. I know you may be saying they don’t need a catcher, but what if Bruce Bochy looked around at the catchers on the roster and said none of them play good enough defense, are sturdy enough to be full-time guys, and are not good enough at controlling the running game?
A former catcher himself, Bochy knows that Contreras brings that ability to the team and leadership to the pitching staff. Taking that next step requires being strong up the middle and finding a strong catcher is the foundation of that. The Rangers have never been afraid of signing for or trading for catchers. They traded for Mike Napoli in 2011, signed Geovany Soto in 2013, traded for Jonathan Lucroy in 2016, traded for Heim in 2019, and traded for Mitch Garver in 2022. They also will non-tender Mitch Garver prior to this and then look to trade Jonah Heim.
4. The Rangers will sign Justin Verlander
Verlander has talked this season about having a career similar to Nolan Ryan. Texas once again takes a pitcher from the Astros and gives him a chance to finish his career in Texas much like Nolan Ryan. The Astros look around at their staff with Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers, Hunter Brown, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy and decide to let Verlander walk. It is day three of the Winter Meetings and Chris Young tells Ray Davis they have a shot to get Verlander. Davis says do whatever it takes and quickly comes to an agreement with Verlander at three years, $75 million with opt outs after each season.
Chris Young is also able to convince Nolan to come back to the stadium and help introduce Verlander at his introductory press conference. It would be a very similar scenario to how Nolan landed in a Rangers uniform leaving the Astros in 1988.
Yes, this is a lot of money to spend this offseason, and there is a good chance none of this happens. There are other moves the team will make as well that were not included in these predictions. The Rangers have a real shot a taking big steps to set up their franchise for the next three to five years as they work in some of these players from the farm system.
This isn’t a typical rebuild in that young players lose together and then learn to win together. It is going to be a balance of highly paid veterans mixed with talented young players who are not having the weight of the organization on their shoulders. Players like Evan Carter, Aaron Zavala, Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker, and Owen White will be brought into the team over the next three to five years, surrounded by a team with a winning culture that was established by veterans who know what that looks like.
Then, in due time, the team will be handed over the young players to carry on the winning culture and maintain it as long as they can.
The off-season is not as good as the regular season, but it is fun in that it encourages your imagination to run wild and picture all sorts of different scenarios that could take place. We will get to see how bold Chris Young is and what direction he is able to steer the Texas Rangers towards.