Friday newsletter time: World Series ends, offseason decisions set to begin
(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
Back in February, out on the back fields of the Surprise Recreation Campus, a Rangers official was providing a breakdown of some minor-leaguers who are about to throw bullpen sessions.
Two of them, right-handers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, were the No. 2 and No. 3 overall selections the previous two draft. The Rangers were five months away from selecting outfielder Wyatt Langford at No. 4 overall.
“If we’re drafting in the top-five again next year, we all might be looking for jobs,” the official said.
They can all rest easy. As World Series champions, the Rangers won’t be drafting in the top five, top 10 or top 15. They will be drafting 30th, last, in the first round.
No one is complaining.
The Rangers have time to get ready for that pick, which won’t be made until July. But they are a little behind on offseason tasks.
The 40-man roster needs to be cleaned up. Some of that has happened as players became free agents. Jordan Montgomery, Mitch Garver, Martin Perez and Aroldis Chapman top a list of 12 players headed to free agency.
Andrew Heaney (player option) and Jose Leclerc (club option) can be free agents, and decisions are due next week. The Rangers must also decide if they want to give any of their free agents a qualifying offer worth $20.5 million. Garver is the only candidate. Montgomery can’t be offered one because he was traded during the season.
The Rangers have to re-sign him, right?
They also need to transfer Jacob deGrom and Brett Martin from the 60-day injured list to the 40-man. They can also designate 40-man player for assignment to create more 40-man spots.
The roster cleanup is necessary because the 40-man must be set by Nov. 14 for the Rule 5 draft Dec. 6. Over the next 11 days, the Rangers will also determine which prospects they want to protect from the Rule 5, a list headed by 2020 first-rounder Justin Foscue.
Oh, yeah, free agency opens next week. The Rangers have been working on that while also trying to win a World Series, but club executives won’t be getting time off any time soon.
History for Smith
The Rangers’ best reliever in the first half of the season was Will Smith. The left-hander then became one of their least effective relievers in the second half.
He made a handful of appearances in the postseason, particularly when a favorable matchup presented itself. When the Rangers finished off the Diamondbacks to capture the World Series, Smith made history.
He became the first playersin any of the four major professional sports to win three straight World Series with three different teams. He played a major role in the Braves’ title run in 2021 and was on the Astros’ roster last season.
“I don’t think my head has fully wrapped around it,” Smith said.”It was just fun to do it with this team. You stay with a team all year, you go through the ups and downs we went through, it feels good to come out on top.”
Think about this: Players in all sports hop to different teams each season via trades or free agency. Good players sign one-year deals with contenders and always seem to be in the postseason, and it’s been that way for decades.
But no one else in baseball, the NFL, NBA and NHL has done what Smith did the past three seasons.
World Series souvenirs
One thing that has opened my eyes about owning a website and trying to make it worth the time and effort financially is the various revenue streams that are out there.
They don’t necessarily make big bucks. YouTube ads and Google ads don’t pay much unless your Mr. Beast or get more hits. Since I try to not write clickbait, I might be hurting myself on that one.
Another avenue is being an affilate of other companies. Yet another is stumbling into a book deal with the opporunity to cash in on some royalties.
And that brings us to the point: Rangers Today will be a shameless shill at least a few times a week through Christmas as we try to make a little extra money on the side.
Here are three:
• First up is our relationship with Fanatics, the official suppler of MLB apparel. If you want World Series gear but don’t want to go hunting for it, or if you don’t live in the Metroplex but want to represent the Rangers, click here.
• Our good buddy Josh Sneed is the owner of In the Clutch Apparel and came through in the clutch with some clever Rangers t-shirt. Even my wife likes them so much she bought four. Somehow, she failed to use our discount code RANGERSTODAY. Enter that when checking out after selection your item(s) at this link.
• The one that excites me the most is a commemorative book At Long Last inconjunction with Triumph Books. One book costs $16.95 plus shipping, and copies will begin shipping Nov. 14. You can pre-order now at this link.
Congratulations to the Texas Rangers on their #WorldSeries win! Preorder your commemorative book ‘At Long Last’ by Rangers Today right now at https://t.co/3FW5LSQFIG. #StraightUpTX #GoAndTakeIt #WorldSeriesChamps @JeffWilsonTXR @rangers_podcast #WentAndTookIt pic.twitter.com/zbnxt3cQEI
— Triumph Books (@TriumphBooks) November 2, 2023
Card of the Week
The mystery has been revealed.
Remember after the division series when Bochy asked what the number is on Austin Hedge’s ass? Neither would discuss what it was, nor would any teammates. It was a state secret.
After the World Series ended Wednesday night, Hedges finally spilled the beans.
For his efforts, his 2015 Topps Heritage rookie is the Card of the Week.
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea if that actually is Hedges. The card says it’s him, and he did play for the Padres early in his career.
But that looks nothing like 2023 Hedges, who has longish hair and wears a heavy beard.
Hedges didn’t play much for the Rangers after he was acquired from the Pirates just before the trade deadline. He blossomed into a very vocal member of the bench and was often seen talking ball with Max Scherzer.
Jonah Heim is the only returning catch from the World Series roster, with Hedges and Garver now free agents. Sam Huff is on the 40-man roster and ready to play more regularly in the majors.
Could Hedges return? Yes. Would he make the team out of spring training? Maybe, but probably not assuming Heim and Huff are leathy.
Could Gaver return? Yes. But how much would he catch?
Don’t sleep on what happens at catcher this offseason.
The Diamondbacks in the first five innings of Game 5 before Nathan Eovaldi managed to shut them down. Enjoy.
— out of context dogs (@contextdogs) November 1, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org