Friday newsletter time: WBC rosters are revealed, and Nathan Eovaldi isn’t on Team USA
(Rangers Today/Jeff Wilson)
The release of the World Baseball Classic roster rated as the big news of the day Thursday, at least in the baseball world.
The NBA made huge news at its trade deadline, and got out of the way just in time for Super Bowl LVII on Sunday.
There were a few Rangers notes of interest from the WBC release, one of which will be covered below.
As expected, left-hander Martin Perez will pitch for Venezuela. Right-hander Jose Leclerc is on the roster for the Dominican Republic, but there was some down if he’s pitched because of finger issue he dealt with last season.
Missing from the Team USA roster is right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who had been part of the team. He talked about it last month on the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast, but something changed.
Eovaldi signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $34 million that could eventually be worth $63 million over three years with incentives and if he hits a vesting option. He dealt with injuries last season with Boston, but the Rangers had no issues with his physical exam.
There are two possibilities, as I see it.
One is that whoever is insuring the contract didn’t like the idea of Eovaldi playing in the WBC. We’ve all dealt with insurance companies, but not many of us have dealt with them over potentially $63 million. Nevertheless … we get it.
It’s also possible that Eovaldi came to this conclusion on his own or in consultation with the Rangers. General manager Chris Young has said that he is a big proponent of letting Rangers players participate in the WBC, so it would seem that he would be a big proponent of letting Rangers players decide not to participate.
Ultimately, it’s not the worst thing for him and the Rangers.
This is Eovaldi’s first spring with the Rangers, and he was going to miss a fairly big chunk of it. He can get a feel for the Rangers, and vice versa.
There’s also no mistaking that the injury risk is reduced with him not pitching for Team USA.
The NBA trade deadline has passed, and the Brooklyn Nets borrowed from the Oakland A’s and held a fire sale.
Kyrie Irving was dealt to the Mavericks last week, and Kevin Durant was traded Thursday to the Phoenix Suns.
Just in time for the Super Bowl!
Durant is dealing with a minor injury and is expected to return soon. The Suns are on the road and don’t play in Phoenix again until Tuesday.
Most Rangers will be in town by then, the day before the first workout for pitchers and catchers.
The Rangers never quite had a Nets-like selloff into this rebuilding mode, because there were no superstars. Nor were the Rangers able to acquire any draft picks. At last count, the Nets had added 112.
The good news, on paper, is that the Rangers are no longer in the rebuild.
It’s been a tough three seasons. The Rangers traded away Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Joey Gallo, Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy, Matt Bush and others. It wasn’t much fun to cover.
The upcoming campaign offers no promises of a winning season, but the Rangers have put the pieces in place to be more competitive than they’ve been since winning the American League West in 2016.
Man, that was a long time ago.
Card of the Week
Mitch Bratt, the fifth-round pick in 2021, was not the guest on the upcoming Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast episode, though he was during the 2022 season while he was pitching at Low A Down East.
So, why would Bratt be the Card of the Week?
He’s in the news, at least in Canada and Rangers prospect circles. The left-hander is on the Team Canada roster for the WBC. I bought this card just the other day: his 2021 Bowman Draft Chrome auto 1st Bowman.
Bratt is only 19 but played for national teams while in high school. He left Canada in 2021 for a high school in Georgia to improve his chances at being selected, as scouts were unable to enter Canada because of the country’s COVID restrictions.
He went 5-5 with a 2.45 ERA last season over 80 2/3 innings. He throws a bunch of strikes with strikeout stuff, so he fits the Rangers’ model.
Bratt is a good one to watch.
Time to dig in! Enjoy.
What? Do I got something on my face?…😂👀🐶🔊 pic.twitter.com/vvhyeF4G3T
— Laughs 4 All 🤟 (@Laughs_4_All) February 10, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org