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Monday newsletter time: Do Rangers have an answer for Astros’ key signing?

(AP photo/Denis Poroy)


For at least a month and probably more, the Rangers were thought to be the team that would eventually sign free-agent closer Josh Hader.

A union made sense. The Rangers’ bullpen was awful at times last season when trying to protect a lead, and the team had spent like drunken sailors the previous two offseasons. Hader would help them repeat as World Series champs.

Rangers Today never thought the Rangers would sign him. It’s not in their blood. They don’t see a lot of value is signing a relief pitcher to massive contracts.

Indeed, Hader received the massive deal he was seeking, five years and $95 million, and the Rangers are going to see plenty of him when facing his new team, the Astros.

Houston was the surprise winner years after trading him to the Brewers. The Astros now have Hader, Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu to protect a lead, and that’s pretty good.

Does it tilt the American League West toward the Astros? It certainly won’t hurt their chances, though the addition will cost them a second-round draft pick for an already-depleted farm system.

Do the Rangers have an answer up their sleeves? Left-hander Jordan Montgomery is still available for the rotation. Emmanuel Clase is thought to be available via a trade with the Guardians. If the Astros can reunite with a reliever who got away, the Rangers can, too.

The best way to beat Hader is to make sure he’s not in a position to pitch. Montgomery would be a means to that end, as would the work the Rangers’ high-octane offense could do before the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Sign here

Marcus Semien, Josh Jung, Evan Carter and Cody Bradford might have rest their writing hands a couple days. They were busy over the weekend.

All four spent time at the Dallas Card Show in Allen signing autographs, and fans and collectors paid handsomely for the chance to get their memorabilia signed by World Series champions.

But the players signed many more items than what they signed for the public.

Away from the autograph dais, the show organizers planted the players in a hotel conference room to sign items that had been solid online or would be sold at a later date.

How many more? Carter signed more than 400 items — including bats, balls, jerseys and photographs — before signing more for those who purchased an autograph ticket and stood in a long line for his signature.

Bradford said he had fun doing it. Carter couldn’t believe what a difference a year has made in his life.

He was just a prospect, a very good one, a year ago. Now he’s a postseason hero and the No. 4 prospect in the game.

Bill Sliheet of Superior Sports Investments in Mansfield said that he nearly sold out his Carter rookie cards at the show and sold many other rookies of Rangers players, including Jung and Corey Seager.

The price of Wyatt Langford’s first Bowman card, part of the 2023 Bowman Draft set, remain high. Prices could drop if a second print it ordered or if Bowman Draft hits the retail market.

Langford might get writer’s cramp someday, too.



Not much has happened since the last ICYMI on Friday, but enough had happened before then to warrant another chance to look back. And don’t forget about the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast channel over on YouTube, where you can watch the live podcast last week at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. in Grapevine. Here’s our latest, in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: Position breakdown

T.R.’s Memoirs: Rangers in the Hall

No clarity

Going international

At Long Last

Doggy video!

Hit the bricks, cat. Enjoy.

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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  1. deGrom Texas Ranger January 22, 2024

    Do players still sign baseball cards if you send them in the mail to the official location?

    1. Jeff Wilson January 23, 2024

      I’ve seen players signing mail in the clubhouse. Not all of them, mind you, but some.

  2. rememberthecoop January 23, 2024

    Yep some do. Depends on the player. There is a guy at my work who sends in stuff to White Sox players and some do sign & return the items. But some players do not. It just depends on the individual.


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