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Thursday newsletter time: Off day gives Rangers time to evaluate spring roster

(AP photo/Matt York)

 

Off days during a baseball season are relatively rare, and when a team gets one, players do their best to disappear.

That also applies in spring training, and on Wednesday the Rangers were off for the first time this camp. Many of the players who have families probably didn’t get much of a day off.

As the Rangers typically do, they paired the day off with a night game. The world champs will be back on the field tonight with Jon Gray on the mound.

They will likely take the field with a lighter camp roster.

The off day-night game combo traditionally is a time for coaches, scouts and club officials to evaluate players and determine who no longer fits. Starting pitchers and position players are starting to go deeper into games, and their needs take priority with only two weeks remaining until Opening Day.

Officials also had time continue discussing what they need. The Rangers have needed another starter the entire offseason, and they seem intent on adding one before the season begins.

Dylan Cease was the hot name until the Padres plucked him away from the White Sox, but the right-hander likely is not the only name on the Rangers’ list. As long as Jordan Montgomery remains a free agent, he has to be a consideration. He would have to come off of his reported ask of seven years, and at this point it seems like a stretch that he would be ready for Opening Day.

Do the Rangers want to spend cash money or the other currency in baseball, prospects?

That’s one of the decisions they mulled on the off day and will continue to consider leading into tonight’s game at Surprise Stadium.

Not good enough?

On the surface, the desire to add a starting pitcher seems to suggest that the Rangers don’t think the five starters they have are good enough to keep the Rangers relevant in the American League playoff picture until injured right-handers Max Scherzer, Tyler Mahle and Jacob deGrom are ready this summer.

It’s not necessarily that the projected Opening Day rotation isn’t good enough, but it is a numbers game. The Rangers have a serious lack of depth behind right-handers Nathan Eovaldi, Dane Dunning and Gray and left-handers Andrew Heaney and Cody Bradford.

Adding a starter would presumably bump Bradford to the bullpen. The Rangers would need to convince Jose Urena and Adrian Sampson to accept an assignment to the minors or put them in the bullpen. The Rangers would need Jack Leiter (if he isn’t traded), Owen White (if he isn’t traded), Zak Kent and Cole Winn to get their stuff together and become big-league options.

It’s not a matter of if a big-league starter is going to get injured. It’s when. When it happens, the Rangers need a quality starter to step in.

Again, this isn’t a new problem, and the Rangers just didn’t start trying to address it. They’ve had their hands on the pitchers for a month and didn’t see the kind of development they need to see.

The need to add a starter has become more important.

ICYMI …

Don’t worry. You didn’t miss anything Wednesday at Rangers camp. The off day, though, didn’t mean that Rangers Today was off. It was nice, though, not being at the ballpark. I’ll be back Sunday night and in Arizona for the duration. The last week is when the news happens, and Rangers Today will be there for you. So, get full access here for only $48 for 12 months for new subscribers. Here’s our latest content, in case you missed it.

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It’s spring training for everyone. Enjoy.

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. deGrom Texas Ranger March 15, 2024

    Jack Leiter did seem to show development as a pitcher, though not entirely as a starter, considering command issues that still persist.

    Reply

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