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Monday newsletter time: Connecting the dots on a possible Rangers promotion from the minors

(AP photo/LM Otero)


The Rangers were one of the few MLB teams who didn’t get a fourth day off at the All-Star break, resuming play July 21 at Miami.

That game kicked off a stretch of 18 games without a day off. The schedule is finally showing the Rangers some mercy today.

Off days generally give club officials time to think about what they can do to give their team a jolt. Left-hander Cole Ragans and outfielder Bubba Thompson did that Thursday.

There might be one option who could join them soon.

It’s Dallas Keuchel, the former American League Cy Young winner in the midst of a terrible season. But he made two starts for Triple A Round Rock in their six-game series at Sugar Land, and he pitched pretty well.

Meanwhile, right-hander Spencer Howard is on his roller coaster again, with back-to-back crummy starts after posting five scoreless innings July 28 at Angel Stadium to beat Shohei Ohtani.

Howard and Keuchel are on the same schedule.

Promoting Keuchel wouldn’t appear to be the most forward-thinking move for the Rangers’ future. He’s not young and not under club control, as Howard is. And Keuchel has been released by two MLB teams this season after pitching poorly (8.53 ERA, 2.033 WHIP in 12 starts).

However, he might buy Howard some time to find his way again while also giving the Rangers a better chance to win.

Howard gave up six runs (five earned) in 3 1/3 innings as the White Sox beat the Rangers 8-2.

Maybe it’s simply coincidence that Keuchel and Howard are on the same schedule. With the Rangers taking a deeper dive into player evaluation for 2023, Howard could stick in the rotation.

An argument can be made that he should, with the future in mind.

But the Rangers are still trying to win this season and build momentum for 2023. More rough outings by Howard won’t help with that.

Rest of rotation

The four starters who pitched before Howard did so very well, allowing four runs (three earned) in 24 innings.

No offense to left-handers Martin Perez and Ragans, but work of right-handers Glenn Otto and Dane Dunning was significant.

Otto allowed two runs Friday in six innings, while Dunning tossed seven scoreless innings Saturday.

They are trying to lock down a future with the team. Neither is arbitration eligible yet.

With the stalled development of starting pitchers in the minor leagues, the Rangers will be shopping for starters in the offseason.

Jon Gray is the only lock for 2023 as things stand. Perez would join him if he and the Rangers can work out a contract extension.

Dunning has the edge on Otto. Both have made adjustments recently, and both have seen an uptick in their stuff.

Dunning spoke Saturday of finishing the season strong. He knows what’s at stake.


I hope everyone had a good weekend.

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Now, for those who need to play a little catch-up, here’s the latest from Rangers Today in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: Chris Woodward being evaluated

Friday on the Farm: Dane Acker is ready to leave Arizona

Kumar Rocker is headed to Arizona

Cole Ragans story cheered through the organization

Rangers Today Baseball Podcast with Acker

Doggy video!

A case of the Mondays right here. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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