3 pending free agents the Texas Rangers need to let walk, 2 they need to keep

The Texas Rangers have some tough choices to make this coming offseason as to who to keep and who to let go.
Jul 29, 2023; San Diego, California, USA;  Texas Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez (54) throws a
Jul 29, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez (54) throws a / David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports
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Keeping Jordan Montgomery around should be the Rangers top priority

After the Rangers went wild in the first half, they made it clear that they were going to remain aggressive in pursuing a deep playoff run when Texas traded for Jordan Montgomery (and Chris Stratton) in a deal with the Cardinals at the trade deadline. Montgomery was very clearly one of the best rental starting pitchers available on the trade market and the Rangers were not going to let the opportunity pass them by given the injuries in their starting rotation this season.

In short, Montgomery has been everything the Rangers wanted him to be. In five starts so far with the team, Montgomery has thrown 31.1 innings and has posted a 2.30 ERA. While Montgomery doesn't have overpowering stuff, he really knows how to get the most out of what he has and throws a ton of strikes. This is exactly the kind of pitcher the Rangers need going forward: a reliable arm that will throw meaningful innings, limit baserunners, and give the team a chance to win every time he takes the mound. He probably won't be particularly cheap as he is going to be one of the best starting pitchers available in free agency this offseason, but the Rangers should absolutely try to keep him.

Texas should try to hang on to Chris Stratton in 2024

The other part of the Rangers' return in the trade deadline deal with the Cardinals was reliever Chris Stratton. While other Cardinals relievers got more attention at the deadline because of their pure stuff like flamethrower Jordan Hicks, Stratton may have been the best one for the Rangers to target. He generally keeps his walks down, misses a fair number of bats, and his fastball has been uniquely hard for opposing batters to square up this season despite him not throwing particularly hard.

While his overall production with St. Louis was only okay, Stratton has blossomed with the Rangers. In 11 appearances so far for Texas, he has posted a 2.00 ERA with 13 strikeouts and just two walks in 18 innings of work. Is Stratton a guy that should be closing games for Texas? Probably not. However, he is a really reliable setup man who shouldn't break the bank to bring back for 2024 and beyond. For a Rangers team that may look to spend big elsewhere, Stratton is exactly the kind of guy the Rangers should look to help fill out their bullpen.

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