Monday newsletter time: Rangers reportedly among Shohei Ohtani’s preferred landing spots
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The first intriguing rumor of the postseason landed Sunday, and it involved the Texas Rangers.
I’m sorry, the world champion Texas Rangers.
Shohei Ohtani, arguably the biggest free agent ever, has three favorites, according to the New York Post: the Dodgers, the Giants and the Rangers.
Let the circus begin.
The Rangers’ place in Ohtani’s top three, if accurate, shouldn’t come as a surprise. They were one of the finalists to sign him when he came from Japan, he crushes the ball at Globe Life Field and he wants to win. The Rangers just won it all, and he had an up-close view.
The question becomes if the Rangers want Ohtani (of course, they want him) and how much they are willing to pay (that’s tricky). Most expect Ohtani to bag $500 million even though the two-way player will be only a one-way player in 2024 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
For those scoring at home, that’s Tommy John No. 2 for Ohtani since he came to the majors in 2018.
Ohtani will turn 30 in July, so he’s not as young as Corey Seager was when he hit free agency. The Rangers have to ask themselves how much longer will Ohtani continue as a two-way player and if they want to be playing a mid- and late-30s Ohtani $50 million a year just to be a designated hitter.
And it’s not like the team he signed with, the Angels, even came close to a postseason berth with him.
The list of considerations doesn’t stop there. It won’t be an easy decision to pursue Ohtani or to tell him no thanks.
The rumor mill, though, will be swirling.
A few thoughts on the Rangers’ club-record three Gold Glove winners Sunday night:
• What a terrific accomplishment for Nathaniel Lowe, who after last season was, statistically speaking, one of the worst first basemen in baseball. He made it his offseason objective to improve defensively, and, holy cow, did he. While his offense was down from his Silver Slugger campaign in 2022, he saved runs with his glove and was a member of the best defensive infield in baseball
• Adolis Garcia finally won a Gold Glove after getting snubbed the past two seasons. His best season, in my opinion, was 2021, but he split time equally between center field and right field and must have confused voters. He ran into Aaron Judge last season, when Judge won every award imagainable. To be honest, this might have been Garcia’s least impressive season with the glove, but it was still damn good.
• Jonah Heim might be a surprise, considering the numbers that Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk posted. But Heim is one of the best pitch framers/strike stealers in the game, and his arm is a difference-maker, too, when a pitcher gives him a chance. Voting takes places before the end of the regular season, so his caught stealing in ninth inning of Game 1 of the division series didn’t matter in his Gold Glove fate. But it mattered in the Rangers’ fate.
Nelson Cruz announced his retirement last week, waiting until the Rangers won the World Series. Many pin blame on him for the Rangers not winning Game 6 in 2011, with David Freese’s game-tying triple zooming over his head in right field.
He had scooted in for a play at the plate after Rangers coaches had positioned him deeper. The Rangers also immediately regained the lead in the 10th only to fumble that lead away, too. No one seems to pin any blame on those involved that blown save.
Cruz ended up having a terrific career. He was caught in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013, though his case to avoid punishment was the strongest. He and his camp felt their case — Cruz being directed to take the supplements after an offseason illness cost him 25 pounds — was so strong that they believed MLB would hand him only a 25-game suspension, but then reneged and gave a 50-game ban.
But he also provided some unforgettable moments for Rangers fans, like his walk-off grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. He was MVP of the series as the Rangers beat the Tigers in six games to get to the World Series.
All told, Cruz hit 464 homers in 19 seasons for eight teams. He was also a strong supporter of Do It For Durrett, and that has meant so much to many people.
What a week that was. I’ve been rewatching World Series games to get another gander, from another angle, and so that I can hear all that John Smoltz did to tick everyone off. In the moment, there was a lot of writing to do. I didn’t sleep after the clincher, in fact. There continues to be a lot of writing to do. It’s fun writing, though. Here’s the latest at Rangers Today in case you missed it (some stories require a subscription, which you can get here):
The Sunday Read: Diving into the offseason
Lowe brought his puppy to the parade (and his girlfriend). Enjoy.
Nate Lowe enjoying life. pic.twitter.com/eYs8VkE30f
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilsonTXR) November 3, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org