Should the Texas Rangers have been more active in the reliever market this offseason?

The Rangers had the third most blown saves in the regular season to go with a bottom 10 bullpen ERA. Yet, they have only signed one reliever to the major league roster during free agency.

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers / Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/GettyImages
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More bullpen metrics and makeup

I also looked into successful saves as another metric to measure the best bullpens by. This was a major area the Rangers struggled in as they converted less than half of their save opportunities. The top three bullpens in terms of saves were the Reds, Braves, and Blue Jays. The Braves were fifth in bullpen payroll, the Blue Jays eighth, and the Reds were number 20. By this metric spending helped a little more as the Braves and Blue Jays were on the higher side of bullpen payrolls, but the Reds show us still that spending isn't everything.

Ultimately, bullpen's are very hard to construct and some combination of spending as well as finding the right mix of guys that complement and feed off each other is necessary. There is also of course, a little luck involved. The reality is, regardless of if the Rangers are in a financial position to be able to spend big or not right now, it would still not guarantee success out of the bullpen in 2024. The correlation between bullpen spending and production just isn't that high. The Rangers strategy of picking up a volume of cheap arms is likely their best bet for a better bullpen in 2024.

Teams like the Yankees, Reds, and Brewers have shown that it is possible to have a successful bullpen with a low payroll. With the number of options the Rangers have in spring training between returning guys, cheap off-season pick ups, and emerging minor league pitchers, the bullpen is likely to be better in 2024. From purely a probability perspective, it would be hard to have that many options and still not find a better mix than one of the worst bullpens in the league last year. Bochy and Mike Maddux will get to test all their options out in various situations during spring training, and I expect they will craft a more effective bullpen in 2024 despite no big spending.

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