Financial uncertainty casts a shadow over Texas Rangers' offseason

As the fans are still reveling over the World Series championship, the realities of the Texas Rangers financial situation are dampening the fans' enthusiasm for the 2024 season.
Texas Rangers Victory Parade
Texas Rangers Victory Parade / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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What does this mean for the 2024 season?

The main takeaway from this piece is that there should be no expectation that Texas is going to be invovled with any of the high-priced free agents this winter. That means not only letting Jordan Montgomery go, but also not getting involved with Josh Hader either. It likely means letting Mitch Garver walk. I would say anyone wanting to make over $10 million next season is probably not someone Texas is going to try and sign.

Ken Rosenthal mentions in his piece about signing pitchers like Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, or Michael Wacha. Each of those pitchers will likely sign for less than $10 million. Wacha made 7.5 million last season, Manaea made right at $10 million his last year of arbitration, and Montas made 7.5 million. Montas missed almost all of the 2023 season, Manaea spent most of the season in the bullpen, and Wacha only made 24 starts and barely pitched over 100 innings in 2023. Texas could sign each of them for likely less than $10 million.

The other pitcher Texas could sign is Clayton Kershaw. He has been the white whale that they have been chasing for the last three offseasons. Each time Kershaw entertains their offer and then chooses to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers. His priority has been winning and the Dodgers gave him a better shot to win. That is no longer the case as Texas is coming off winning a World Series and the Dodgers are the ones facing questions. Kershaw himself is facing questions as he had shoulder surgery soon after the Dodgers' season ended. He will not be ready to pitch on Opening Day if he can pitch at all in 2024.

Texas is already not going to have Jacob deGrom till July or August. They could sign Kershaw and work on his recovery and install both him and deGrom by August into the rotation and have two fresh arms for the stretch run. Kershaw who made $20 million in 2023 would likely sign for much less since he is not going to pitch a full season. Texas might be able to get him for $10 million with certain incentives built in to increase that final total. This is all speculation as no one knows if he is willing to leave the only organization he has played for. The question for Kershaw will be does he trust his recovery process to a new team of doctors or does he want to fall back on the ones he already knows and who knows him?

I think it is clear though from everything that is getting out from the Texas Rangers front office that they want to tamp down expectations from fans about how active they are going to be. They are defending World Series champions, but they are going to be cautious about how they spend their money this offseason. They still are going to put together a roster that can repeat, but they are not going to be spending as much money as they have the last two offseasons. If you had dreams like me about a Shohei Ohtani DH, Josh Hader closing, and with Jordan Montgomery coming back then it is probably time to send those dreams back into the fantasy world.

Just remember that in less than 70 days this team that Chris Young has assembled will emerge from the shadows and onto the practice fields in Surprise, Arizona. They will be there to start the defense of the team's first World Series championship.

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