At its year-end press conference, Rangers GM Chris Young told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that team owner Ray Davis, who Young described as “frustrated,” had pledged to increase the team’s payroll this offseason, in an effort to improve the team’s pitching staff. Grant also notes that Davis might also want to see another bat added to the lineup.
The 2022 Rangers payroll reached more than $142 million, an increase from 2021 of approximately $48 million. For 2023, Texas has approximately $85 million committed in payroll, although this does not include arbitration-eligible players such as Mitch Garver. Still, that should leave the Rangers with more than $50 million available before even factoring in any payroll increases, allowing the team plenty of flexibility when looking for additions this offseason.
Rangers will need all the extra resources they can get if they want to compete in 2023. The team has lost 94 games in 2022 even after causing a stir in free agency last offseason by adding the two Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to their infield. While Texas committed significant dollars to this duo, their other additions had much less impact, with Kole Calhoun struggling mightily in 125 games this season, Garver missed most of the year with forearm issues and their big pitching acquisition, Jon Graywith an ERA+ of only 99. Martin Perez has been a revelation this season, but Rangers will need to re-sign him this offseason to make it count for them in 2023, and Young says the team expects to meet with Perez’s agents next week.
Also on the Rangers agenda next week is the continuation of their management search. While Rangers have already interviewed interim manager Tony Beasley, Young said they will start interviewing outside candidates next week. Although Young didn’t specify a name, he did praise former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, whom he played with for the Padres in 2006. Bochy, who won the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series with San Francisco, would provide Rangers with a more experienced manager as they move from Chris Woodwardwho had no managerial experience prior to his stint in Texas, which began in 2019. In addition to Woodward, president of baseball operations Jon Daniels was fired earlier this season, although it’s unclear if the Rangers will look to add another GM to their front office to help Young.
It’s no surprise that improving the team’s throwing is a priority for Young this offseason, as the starting rotation at Texas has been a disaster in 2022. Of the nine players to start more than two games for the Rangers this season, only two of them had a season better than the league average by ERA+: Perez and matt bush. Bush was traded to the Brewers at the trade deadline in exchange for Marc Mathias and Anthony Kelly. As previously mentioned, Perez is a pending free agent, leaving Rangers without players under contract for next year’s rotation who had a better than average season in 2022. Gray can always be counted on as a member of rotation, and Rangers are likely to allow youngsters Dane Dunning, spencer howardand Glenn Otto compete for the last place in the rotation. However, this still leaves 3 spots vacant in the rotation, so they will have to make several additions even if they re-sign Perez.
Both Clayton Kershaw and Jacob of Grom are expected to hit the free agent market this offseason, and there are rumors that they are interested in playing in Texas. While Rangers certainly have the pay space available to acquire either of them, it remains open question whether either aces would want to move from a club already in Championship contention to a much more uncertain situation with Rangers. Looking the market towards less flashy options, Chris Bassit, Jose Quintana, Tyler Andersonand Nathan Eovaldi are among the mid-rotation options clubs have relied on to start playoff games in the past. While an ideal offseason would surely involve signing an ace, even acquiring a pair of strong playoff-caliber mid-rotation starters to partner with a re-signed Perez would represent a substantial improvement in the rotation. for Texas.
While the Rangers offense isn’t as desperate for an overhaul as the rotation, there’s still room for improvement. The infield is largely in good condition, with Seager, Semien and Nathaniel Lowe all capable of producing all calibers of stars and being top prospects Josh Jung having made his MLB debut this season. Behind the plate, Rangers are also likely set, with a combination of Garver, Jonas Heimand Sam Huff likely to handle the receiver position next year. The outfield, however, desperately needs improvement. Whereas Adolis Garcia has proven to be a quality regular and Leodye Taveras has looked acceptable in 99 games this season, the Rangers have few other outfield assists currently on the roster.
Apart from a surprise offer for the services of Judge Aaron, Brandon Nimmo represents the top of the outfield market for Texas. That being said, Nimmo is likely to attract a lot of interest due to the lack of quality two-way center field options available, so Rangers may have to explore other options. André Benintendi, Joc Pedersonand Mitch Haniger are among the quality regulars available in the free agent market this offseason. Rangers could also explore the Trade Market, where Ian Happ, ramon lauranoand Bryan Reynolds are among those that could be made available this off-season.
Another potential solution in the outfield could be a meeting with Joey Gallo. Gallo struggled mightily after the Rangers traded him at last year’s deadline, posting an 84+ OPS in 184 games between the Yankees and Dodgers since the trade. Gallo has had great success with Rangers in the past, however, earning all star appearances in 2019 and 2021. Before being traded, Gallo praised Rangers and indicated he would like to stay in town long-term. With Rangers desperate for help on the pitch and Gallo looking for a comfortable place to bounce back this offseason, a reunion could make a lot of sense for both sides.