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Wednesday newsletter time: Nathan Eovaldi gets Rangers’ opener. Then what?

(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

 

SURPRISE, Ariz. — The least surprising announcement of spring training finally came Tuesday: Nathan Eovaldi will be the Rangers’ Opening Day starter.

Manager Bruce Bochy said that he told the right-hander in December, but the Rangers wanted to make sure he made it through his build-up before making the announcement. They also wanted to wait for MLB to send out a press release with nearly all of the Opening Day starter across both leagues.

Eovaldi will be facing Cubs left-hander Justin Steele on March 28 at Globe Life Field.

An off day follows the lid-lifter. Plan accordingly.

The Rangers will have 161 more regular-season games to play, and Eovaldi can’t start them all.

The Rangers’ spring pitching schedule might give some insight into how the rest of the rotation shakes out.

Left-hander Andrew Heaney followed Eovaldi the last time through the rotation. Right-handers Jon Gray and Dane Dunning followed Heaney, and left-hander Cody Bradford followed them.

That scenario would keep the Rangers from using two lefties in the second series of the season against the lefty-clubbing Rays at Tropicana Field. The only Rangers lefty who shut down the Rays last season was Jordan Montgomery in postseason opener.

More on him in a minute.

Once the Rangers get through the rotation one time, though, the order doesn’t seem to matter. Because of off days and injuries, No. 1 starters don’t face No. 1 starters every time they pitch. It’s fun when it happens, but it also becomes a rarity as the season marches on.

Then, there was one

Left-hander Blake Snell agreed to a two-year, $62 million deal Monday night with the Giants. The deal includes an opt-out clause after this season.

Snell’s deal leaves only one of the Boras Four, the four big free-agents represented by Scott Boras who were unsigned at the start of spring training, unsigned.

It’s Montgomery.

The left-hander left the Beverly Hills Sports Council in September of 2021 for the Boras Corp., and Snell left Apex Baseball in 2020. This couldn’t have been what they envisioned, or what they were sold on, for their first go-round as free agents.

At this point, with Opening Day next week, it seems that Montgomery will be signing a similar short-term deal that the other three in the Boras Four signed. Rangers owner Ray Davis seems unwilling to give out even a one- or two-year deal for Montgomery with the Rangers already past the first luxury-tax threshold and with the TV uncertainty going forward.

Davis could, of course, chip in his own money for Montgomery without it affecting his lifestyle in the least. With the Astros dealing with rotation injuries and the Mariners’ bullpen already beat up, adding Montgomery might give the Rangers an early advantage as they bide their time on Max Scherzer, Tyler Mahle and Jacob deGrom to return from injuries.

If you’re Montgomery, wouldn’t you want to get what you could, try to minimize the number of starts you’ll miss because of the late start and try to repair any damage done for your next shot at free agency?

I’d also want to have a heart-to-heart with my agent.

 

Rising stock

The Rangers re-assigned Davis Wendzel to minor-league camp Tuesday morning, trimming their camp roster to 51 players but sending out an infielder who they believe could be an asset for them in case of injury.

There always seems to be an injury. Just look at this spring.

“To me, he’s getting better and better,” Bochy said. “He’s a great option. It’s been a nice spring for the kid.”

Wendzel played third base this spring, but the Rangers know he’s a solid defender at second base and shortstop. The Rangers would not lose much defensively if they had to use Wendzel at either spot.

He also showed some slug for the first time in his career last season, with 30 homers for Triple A Round Rock. He batted .361 this spring with a homer, four doubles, 10 RBIs and a .971 OPS. Were this 2021, he would be on the team.

And he might be at some point this season.

Doggy video!

Caddyshack vibes. “Hey, that kangaroo stole my ball!” Enjoy.

Watch today’s video here.

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. Monty W March 20, 2024

    My hot take: I don’t think Montgomery “likes” the position he’s in. I don’t think he likes all of the attention and the limelight. I believe he just wants to show up each day & play ball. And I get why someone would hire Boras as their agent, maximizing $. Maybe I’m way of, they just don’t seem like a good fit. I wish him well, wherever he lands.

    Reply

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