The Sunday Read: Veteran upgrades, rebound candidates fill Rangers bullpen
(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
The biggest signing of the baseball offseason took some starch out of the American League West, as Shohei Ohtani left Anaheim behind by booking it up I-5 to the Dodgers for $700 million.
Pitchers within the division rejoiced.
But Ohtani’s departure didn’t lead to an influx of starting pitchers coming to the division.
The lowly A’s were busy last week, adding Ross Stripling and Alex Wood to their rotation.
The Rangers signed right-hander Tyler Mahle in December, but he won’t be ready to pitch until the summer (Tommy John surgery). The Mariners traded one of their best starters, Robbie Ray, to the Giants.
He’ll see plenty of Ohtani.
But West teams have been busy adding bullpen help. The Astros made the biggest signing by picking up left-hander Josh Hader. The Mariners and Angels have been adding bullpen pieces.
So have the Rangers, who on Monday introduced right-hander David Robertson via a Zoom call with local writers. He became the second veteran reliever signed this offseason to a big-league deal, joining Kirby Yates.
The bullpen was the Rangers’ biggest need after last season, when relievers blew more saves than they converted. They got hot at the right time, in the postseason, but to repeat as world champs, the Rangers needed to address the bullpen.
It’s worth noting that the bullpen will be in flux in the summer as Mahle, Max Scherzer (back) and Jacob deGrom (Tommy John) return from injury and, presumably, enter the rotation.
The Rangers also will have a decision to make on Carson Coleman, the Rule 5 addition recovering from Tommy John surgery. He must spend 90 days on the active roster in order for the Rangers to keep him.
As for the first half of the season, here’s how the bullpen might stack up on Opening Day.