Friday Newsletter time: Texas Rangers to add 'a lot of pieces' in offseason, but it will be a tough sell
Manager Chris Woodward said the payroll will be larger, which could result in more veterans to place around young players.
Nothing of note transpired between the Zoom call Wednesday night with manager Chris Woodward following the Texas Rangers’ loss to the Seattle Mariners and the pregame Zoom call Thursday morning with Woodward before a 9-8 loss.
It was only a 13-hour gap. Nothing to talk about, right? Not quite.
Woodward said the Rangers are going to have a bigger payroll for 2022, as president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said after the trade deadline, but Woodward indicated that the plan is to bring in multiple veterans and surround them with what the Rangers have or having coming through the system.
Daniels has said that the Rangers will have money to compete for top free agents, but also said the final budget was still to be determined. He also has yet to say how many players the Rangers are seeking to add from the outside.
“There’s a lot to be excited for as we move forward, especially next year,” Woodward said. “We’re, obviously, going to have a higher payroll and add a lot of pieces, and then you have these younger guys coming up at the same time.”
There will be no shortage of roster openings, and plenty of free agents could serve as long-term pieces. The shortstop market is loaded, with Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager and Javier Baez. Marcus Semien, who is playing second base this season with Toronto, is another shortstop who could be available.
Kris Bryant could help at the infield corners and in left field. Starling Marte has looked pretty good this month with Oakland. Kevin Gausman could become an anchor in the rotation. Jon Gray would be an upgrade. Noah Syndergaard, from Mansfield, is an intriguing name to consider.
The question, of course, is why would any free agent want to join the 2022 Rangers? It’s going to be a hard sell for Daniels, Woodward and general manager Chris Young, and there’s still the task of convincing ownership to pay more than they would like.
The Rangers will have to money-whip a big-name free agent. They will have to convince all targets that the farm system will soon bear ripened fruit, and Globe Life Field should be a massive selling point.
The Rangers will then have to hope that since they built it, free agents will come.
Curious front-office departure
Shortly before the Rangers made their stunning ninth-inning comeback, a news release hit the inbox announcing that assistant GM Shiraz Rehman has left the organization.
He was seeking a larger role, Daniels said in a statement, and that was made more difficult when the Rangers hired Young as GM in December.
“After discussions with Shiraz, we mutually agreed that it is best to part ways at this time,” Daniels said. “Shiraz has expressed a desire to seek a new opportunity where he can utilize his experiences and take on a more significant role than we currently have available.”
The timing is curious. There are likely to be GM openings after the season (Colorado is already working with an interim GM), and Rehman has an extensive resume and perhaps is seeking to better position himself now rather than in the offseason.
Rehman joined the Rangers in October 2018, leaving the Chicago Cubs two years after they won the World Series. He was instrumental in developing the Cubs’ research and development program, and offered his advice as the Rangers upped their R&D.
He also helped negotiate player contracts, especially on arbitration-eligible players.
This is his 17th season in the majors, with 10 of them spent as an assistant GM.
Card of the Week
Double A third baseman Josh Jung is out of the COVID-19 protocols and was back in uniform Wednesday night for Frisco after missing nine games. That’s good news, though right-hander Cole Winn has entered the COVID protocols.
They are the No. 2 and No. 3 prospects in the Rangers’ system behind Jack Leiter, according to Baseball America. Many fans would like to see them on the Rangers roster, though Jung would have the best chance.
To that end, his 2019 Bowman Draft Chrome rookie refractor is the Card of the Week.
Promoting Jung is a topic of conversation, though so is letting him finish out the season in the minors. He would be guaranteed regular at-bats in the minors potentially through Sept. 26 if he stayed with Frisco and the RoughRiders made the Double A Central playoffs.
There are also 40-man roster implications in play.
The case for promoting him is to get his feet wet ahead of becoming the Rangers’ everyday third baseman as some point next season, possibly to begin the season.
My money, though not a lot of it, is on the Rangers keeping him in the minors.
Of all the doggy videos so far, this one ranks in my top five. Enjoy. See you Monday.
"there’s still the task of convincing ownership to pay more than they would like."
I think ownership needs to convince me as a long-time fan they care about actual team performance. The idea that our ownership has to be convinced to spend some money to improve the team I think says volumes about how they view importance of on-field product. Owners maximizing ROI - why do I need to invest in a team if the consumer base is willing to spend money for the talent on the field now? All they need to do is give a quote to the media every few months that says "yes, we pay attention to the product on the field and we care about W/L". Until there is a noticeable drop in TV viewership and sales I strongly doubt their thought of need to invest in the team via Free Agency and let the team continue to operate with minor league development.