Friday newsletter time: Rangers add starting pitcher, keep eyes on Montgomery
(AP photo/Lynne Sladky)
The Rangers have a new starting pitcher for the next 1 1/2 seasons.
It’s Tyler Mahle (rhymes with rally), the right-hander who on Thursday was in Arlington to sign a two-year, $22 million contract. The catch is he is recovering from Tommy John surgery and probably won’t be ready until July, just before Jacob deGrom finishes his rehab from Tommy John.
Rangers orthopedist Keith Meister performed both UCL replacements, which is convenient.
Mahle’s lack of availability led to an interesting payout: $5.5 million in 2024 and $16.5 million in 2025. He can reach $5 million in incentives based on innings pitching in 2025.
Mahle spent last season with the Twins and had a 3.16 ERA after five starts. That’s when the elbow started barking.
When healthy, Mahle is a strikeout pitcher despite not having top-end velocity. He made is MLB debut with the Reds, who shipping him to the Twins before the 2021 trade deadline. He quickly hurt his shoulder, and then the elbow gave out in April.
The deal isn’t splashy and doesn’t address the rotation for the start of the season. The Rangers still want to sign left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who is represented by Scott Boras and generally pushes his clients toward the most lucrative deal.
While general manager Chris Young has said that the Rangers won’t be spending at the same levels as the past two offseasons, he also said that they have the money to sign any free agent.
But the Mahle deal looks to be of the same ilk as past acquisitions such as Martin Perez, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor and Kyle Gibson — mid-tier pitchers who became All-Stars or pitched like one.
The Rangers’ pro scouts have been doing a terrific job the past several years. They hope Mahle is their next hit.
One more year
Former Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is going to give baseball one more go.
The 2018 American League All-Star said the he will retire after the 2024 season, which will be his fourth in his native Korea.
Choo is an all-time personal favorite.
He had an injury-plagued 2023 season for SSG Landers after helping the team win the Korea Baseball Organization title in 2022. He said that he will play this season for the league minimum and donate his full salary to charity. He made his fortune with the Rangers on a seven-year, $130 million deal in he signed before the 2014 season.
Choo and his family continue to live in the Metroplex.
Rangers Today business
The Wilsons are headed to the great state of Colorado. As always, I plan on working while on vacation, but don’t be surprised if a newsletter doesn’t show up a day or two.
In the meantime, a new episode of the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast will be churned out later today (audio). Radio guy Matt Hicks will make his debut as we discuss the World Series and the offseason. Matt’s great, so be sure to listen or watch when it hits the YouTube channel.
Also, we are kicking off a fresh sale ahead of the holidays for those of you still doing some shopping for your favorite Rangers fans. An annual subscription can be had for $48 for new subscribers (20 percent off). There is also a gift option for those of you scrambling to find something a Rangers fan in your family or friend group might not have.
As Cousin Eddie says, “That’s the gift that keeps giving the whole year.”
Take advantage of this offer.
Card of the Week
The next $300 million man (plus posting fees) is believed to be free-agent right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is meeting with MLB teams. The 25-year-old has been the best player in Japan the past three seasons and at 25 is ready for a new challenge.
Teams are lining up, and the top of the pitching market looks to be on hold until he makes his decision.
Not a lot is known about Yamamoto on this side of the world, but know this: He has lots of baseball cards already out in the wild.
Of all of them, this one was selected as the Card of the Week. It’s the 2021 Topps NPB 1986 insert red foil 4/5.
Why this one? The first wax pack I ever opened was a 1986 Topps pick. My favorite card was the Dwight Gooden, has he had been one of my favorite players. The Bo Jackson Topps Traded is another all-time favorite.
So, the Yamamoto insert has tremendous personal appeal.
His decision could be made soon. The Yankees are considered by some to be the front-runners, but the Dodgers are throwing around more money. It would be hard to bet against them, though that he wants to sign with a team with a Japanese player was dismissed by agent Joel Wolfe.
The Dodgers (Ohtani), Mets (Kodai Senga) and Red Sox (Masataka Yoshida) hope that is a factor.
Happens to me daily. Enjoy.
Me, walking into a room and then forgetting what for. pic.twitter.com/9B21JAHu5m
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) December 12, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org