The World Series celebration that saw hundreds of thousands of fans descend on the city of Arlington ended on Friday afternoon. The joy felt by the fans will last throughout the entire offseason. The front office is not wasting time as they start the process of building a team that will attempt to become the first repeat champion of the 21st century. The Texas Rangers on Saturday announced two moves with players that were key contributors to the World Series champion roster.
What role will Andrew Heaney play in 2024?
Heaney and Leclerc both played significant roles in the postseason bullpen. Heaney was the Texas Rangers' swingman. He started games in the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series. He also pitched out of the pen as well. He was effective in both roles. His worst showing was in his game four start against the Astros when he could not get out of the first inning. Other than that he was solid throughout the postseason. He made four other appearances totaling 10 innings, giving up two earned runs, striking out four, and walking three. In the regular season, he was a solid starter for Texas as well. In the second half Heaney was 5-0 with a 3.38 era.
Heaney picked up his $13 million option, but at this point it is unclear what his exact role will be. It will definitely depend on what other moves Texas makes in the starting rotation this offseason. Right now the rotation will likely be composed of Max Scherzer, Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Dane Dunning, and Andrew Heaney. It is a strong crop of starting pitchers on the market this offseason. Texas could bring back Jordan Montgomery. There is also Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, or Marcus Stroman. They also could try to get into the trade market. Just remember Chris Young believes in never having enough pitching.
Jose Leclerc the 2024 closer?
Jose Leclerc is in the same boat. He was a terrific closer for Texas in late September and throughout the postseason. Leclerc ended up making 13 appearances in the postseason. He ended up with four saves and they all were in one or two run games. He had the memorable extra innings two-inning appearance in game one of the World Series. He held Arizona scoreless for those innings giving Texas the chance to win on Garcia's walk-off home run in the 11th.
Leclerc's postseason line was 13 2/3 innings pitched, five earned runs, 14 strikeouts, and six walks. He only blew one save in the postseason and that was in game five of the ALCS against Houston. Leclerc had 10 appearances where he held the opposition scoreless. It was an amazing run by someone who has been inconsistent throughout his career.
Leclerc's role at this time will likely be the closer in 2024. That could change in this offseason. Texas will be looking to add to the bullpen. Aroldis Chapman will be a free agent and is likely not coming back. Will Smith is likely not to return as well. Texas will be looking to replace both of them and add to the depth of the pen.
Leclerc and Heaney will both be back in 2024 and the offseason is officially underway. It should be an interesting few months as Texas will look to build onto their surprising World Series Championship in 2023.