Monday newsletter time: Rangers give vibe they’re content with rotation as is
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
After a weekend of listening to players, the general manager and the manager at Fan Fest, it’s clear that the Rangers have set their minds to playing this season without left-hander Jordan Montgomery.
He’s not with them, other clubs want him, spring training begins in three weeks and players and club officials are working to do their part to help the Rangers repeat as World Series champs. Planning for the season without him is the smart thing to do.
That’s not to say that the Rangers have stopped looking at Montgomery, other free agents or trades to upgrade the rotation, but they also talked about how much they like their rotation as is — right-handers Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray and Dane Dunning and left-handers Andrew Heaney and Cody Bradford.
The Rangers are going to have one of the highest payrolls in team history, so it’s hard to say they’re being cheap. The longer Montgomery remains a free agent, the better the Rangers’ chances at re-signing him. At this point, it wouldn’t be outlandish to think that he’s ready to come off his initial asking price.
But all reports are that the five in the rotation are doing just fine. Well, Rangers Today has talked to only four of them, but no one has said that Heaney isn’t healthy.
The Rangers also signed veteran reliever David Robertson, which gives them four options to close games and puts better arms in earlier slots. That could give the Rangers the opportunity to go to the bullpen sooner if a starter is laboring or if he needs rest.
What the Rangers don’t have a lot of is rotation depth. They need their prospects and non-roster invitees to be able to help when needed, and they will be needed.
Adding another starter might not be a bad idea.
More non-roster deals
Slipping through the cracks last week, at least at the website, was the addition of three non-roster invites to spring training: infielder Matt Duffy, left-hander Blake Taylor and first baseman Jared Walsh.
Duffy is the most decorated of the three, having played in the majors since 2014. The first two were with Bruce Bochy in San Francisco. Duffy was also a non-roster invitee to Rangers spring training in 2020 and might have made the Opening Day roster if not for COVID shutting things down.
He was not part of the Spring Training 2.0 roster.
Walsh might be best known to Rangers fans, having played for the Angels since 2019 after being a 39th-round pick in 2015. He hit 29 homers and drove in 98 runs in 2021 but hit only .125 last season in 104 at-bats.
Taylor was the 51st overall pick in 2013 by the Pirates from Dana Point High School in California. That’s the same high school where the Rangers found 2017 second-rounder Hans Crouse, a former top prospect who was sent to the Phillies in 2021 with Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy.
Duffy, Walsh and Taylor are the 12th, 13th and 14th non-roster invites to big-league spring training. The Rangers also invited 10 from the minor leagues, headed by 2023 first-rounder Wyatt Langford.
Bubba Thompson is with his fourth team of the offseason.
The Royals (1) designated him for assignment, but he was claimed on waivers by the Reds (2). They designated him for assignment, and the Yankees (3) grabbed him.
Last week, the Yankees needed a roster spot and designated Thompson for assignment again. The Twins (4) liked him and picked him up.
What is happening to Thompson isn’t unprecedented. Right-hander A.J. Alexy had a similar offseason last year. The Rangers designated right-hander Daniel Duarte for assignment Friday after getting him a trade for the Reds, who had designated him.
The good news for all three is they have minor-league options remaining. Any player on waivers who has options is attractive to other MLB teams.
For Thompson’s sake, hopefully he has sticks this time.
What a week that was: Adrian Beltre to the Hall of Fame, Robertson and Travis Jankowski signed, most players back for Fan Fest. It’s typically the weekend that jump-starts the team for spring training, which starts Feb. 14 for pitchers and catchers. Rangers Today has been jump-started, not that we’ve taken much time off. But it’s full speed ahead from here. And here’s our latest, in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: News, notes from Fan Fest weekend
Rangers notes: Scherzer, Jankowski, Garcia
At Long Last: A commemorative World Series book
A swift recovery. Enjoy.
“I meant to do that” 😂
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— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 26, 2024
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com