It's possible that you're still basking in the afterglow of the Texas Rangers' first World Series in franchise history. That's completely understandable, but it's important to keep an eye on the future as well. MLB will soon wade into the deepest waters of the offseason: Winter Meetings. Last year, the Rangers signed a lot of expensive talent in a very short span of time. Could they do it again this year? Can they improve on an already good product and pull out their second franchise championship next year? Here are the basics of the Rangers' trip to the Winter Meetings this year.
What are the Winter Meetings?
The Winter Meetings are an annual conference attended by representatives from all 30 MLB teams — executives, managers, agents, as well as journalists — who do the most crucial of their offseason negotiations and signings over the course of four days. While they're not a deadline for trades or signings by any means, a lot of the league's most significant deals are expected get done during the meetings, so they usually operate as the climax of the offseason. Last year, the Rangers' biggest offseason accomplishment, signing Jacob deGrom, took place a few days before the meetings, but they also followed it up by signing Andrew Heaney during the conference. This year, Winter Meetings will be held from Dec. 3 - 6 in Nashville, TN.
What could the Rangers do at Winter Meetings?
The Rangers bullpen was the talk of their postseason; based on their struggles at the end of the regular season, it was unclear if they'd be able to carry the team through the playoffs. Thanks to standout performances by starters Nathan Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery, in particular, Texas was able to put less pressure on its relievers, who still put them team into some sticky, scary situations when they were called upon. It's an issue they'll need to fix if they want to make it into the postseason again next year, not to mention two-peat their championship victory.
Rangers pitching overall needs some help; it's likely that they'll lose Montgomery to free agency this offseason, Max Scherzer is getting hurt more and more frequently, and Jacob deGrom is projected for a return from Tommy John in August, despite feeling optimistic he'll be ready by spring training. Martin Perez is also a free agent this year who is expected to leave. At least one or two more starting arms will be essential for Texas' offseason.
The Rangers' World Series-winning offensive core will be mostly intact going into 2024, but with the losses of outfield depth options in Robbie Grossman and Travis Jankowski, they should be on the lookout for available backups they can sign relatively cheaply.
Rule 5 draft
The Rule 5 draft, made up of minor leaguers with 4-5 years of service time, also takes place during the Winter Meetings. Only teams without a full 40-man roster participate; as of writing, the Rangers still have five open spots after moving Nos. 6, 19, 23, and 26 prospects Justin Foscue, Marc Church, Jose Corniell, and Antoine Kelly to the 40-man to protect them from the draft.
MLB Draft lottery
The second MLB Draft lottery, wherein the 18 non-playoff teams will draw to determine draft order in 2024, will also take place during Winter Meetings. As World Series winners this year, the Rangers 30th place pick is already set.