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Monday newsletter time: Pair from Rangers’ World Series roster won’t be back

(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)



For all the talk of a free-agent logjam, some of which has come from Rangers Today, it seems unlikely that Will Smith and Austin Hedges were delayed by it.

However, they landed with new teams Sunday around 24 hours after Shohei Ohtani signed his 10-year, $700 million mega deal with the Dodgers.

Smith signed a one-year, $5 million contract with Royals. The deal makes sense on both ends. Smith can pitch in high-leverage situations and re-establish himself after a rough second half of 2023 with the Rangers. The Royals, who aren’t expected to contend in 2024, can flip Smith to a contender at the trade deadline.

The Royals used a similar strategy with Aroldis Chapman in 2023. They shipped him to the Rangers on June 30 in exchange for Cole Ragans, who broke through as a starter and looks like he will be a member of the Royals’ rotation for years to come.

Austin Hedges was also a trade piece acquired by the Rangers amid the uncertainty of Jonah Heim’s healthy after a late-July wrist injury. Hedges signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Guardians, who will look at the veteran to do great work behind the plate and maybe hit .200.

Cleveland definitely added a great teammate who is willing to put his all into it.

Smith and Hedges are very good guys. They’re also world champions. Smith will by vying for his fourth straight title in 2024.

Hearn goes international

Left-hander Taylor Hearn is headed to Japan.

The native Texan signed a one-year deal worth $900,000 with the Hiroshima Carp, according to Yahoo Japan. He opened the season with the Rangers, was quickly sent to the minor leagues after struggling in April and eventually was designated for assignment.

He landed with the Braves in a trade for cash considerations, making only one appearance before getting traded to the Royals. He elected free agency after being designated for assignment after the season.

Hearn was acquired by the Rangers from the Pirates at the 2018 trade deadline, along with Sherten Apostel, in a deal for Keone Kela. Hearn has a big fastball, but he has never been able to command it. When he does, he’s great. He just doesn’t do it enough.

Maybe he can resurrect his career in Japan as so many before him have done. Colby Lewis did it 2008 and 2009 … with the Carp.

Ohtani deal

The particulars of the 10-year, $700 million contract the Dodgers are giving Ohtani is mesmerizing to think about, and he’s going to be getting paid beyond the terms of his deal after agreeing to defer much of his salary.

He agreed to that so that the Dodgers would be able to continue adding pieces around him and to minimize the luxury-tax hit. They were a 100-win team again last season, but they did so with smoke and mirrors amid a rash of pitching injuries.

As they learned in the division series against the Diamondbacks, they aren’t always going to be able to outscore their opponents.

The final figure, though, is just stunning. The Rangers are paying Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jacob deGrom a combined $685 million, and that’s an eye-opener.

Considering the uncertainty with their finances, the Rangers never had a chance at Ohtani. Even if they had had $700 million laying around, they didn’t need to go there.

A 40-year-old, $70 million designated hitter (Ohtani will be done pitching by then) is going to be a problem.

Time is slipping away

Once upon a time, I would get my Christmas shopping done before Dec. 1. Those times are long gone.

On Sunday night, I made my first purchase. Yikes.

The retailers were quick to point out that the days are slipping away to get gifts delivered by Christmas. That goes for the gift ideas at the following links:

To get At Long Last, the Rangers Today/Triumph Books commemorative look at the Rangers’ World Series season, click here, here or here.

To get official Rangers World Series gear from Fanatics, click here.

Our friends at In the Clutch Apparel have had a fun time with the Rangers’ success, including this new one. Enter RANGERSTODAY at checkout for a discount.

Doggy video!

I don’t know where this is, and it doesn’t look quite right. But I want to bet on it. 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 Comment

  1. Boo December 11, 2023

    The news on Hearne doesn’t surprise me. As a Taylor fan, I can’t ignore the admissions he makes in his interviews. He openly acknowledges not possessing a strong competitive edge and admits to having a slow motor. While these qualities might have their merits in certain situations, they aren’t exactly the attributes you’d expect from a professional athlete, particularly in the role of a pitcher.


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