Thursday newsletter time: Wyatt Langford headed to Rangers’ spring training
Through the magic of alphabetical order, Wyatt Langford was the third name on the Rangers’ list of internal non-roster invitees to big-league spring training.
For the record, Blaine Crim was first.
Langford, though, is the headliner of the 10-player group of minor-leaguers who will be given a chance to get a taste of the major leagues and even crack the Opening Day roster.
Langford might also have the best chance.
He might have had zero chance as recently as three years ago, but the new collective bargaining agreement awards teams who don’t manipulate a stud prospect’s service time. A team is awarded a first-round draft choice if a prospect opens the season with the big-league team and is voted Rookie of the Year.
Evan Carter will give the Rangers that chance, despite debuting in September and assuming he opens as the left fielder. Langford would double the chances.
He was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 draft on the strength of two stellar seasons at Florida, and he had no problem at any of the four levels he played at in the Rangers’ system. However, Langford has only 161 professional at-bats, and only 19 of those came at Triple A. More time in the minors wouldn’t hurt him or the Rangers.
The Rangers have an opening at designated hitter, but it’s unlikely that Langford would be relegated to full-time DH duties should he win a roster spot. The Rangers could rotate players through the spot in an effort help get them a day off from standing in the field defensively, with Langford part of the group.
If he doesn’t make the club, Justin Foscue, added to the 40-man roster in November, and Crim have a chance to get more DH at-bats than a typical rookie would.
The other internal camp invites are catcher Liam Hicks, first baseman Abi Ortiz, infielder Davis Wendzel, outfielder Aaron Zavala, left-hander Grant Wolfram and right-handers Jack Leiter, Daniel Robert and Emiliano Teodo.
Don’t sleep on Teodo, who starred in the Arizona Fall League while working multiple innings as a reliever, and keep an eye on Leiter, who was encouraged by his finish to last season and could be an early call-up if an injury strikes the rotation.
By the way, Carter was the No. 4 prospect in the Baseball America Top 100 that was posted Wednesday. Langford was No. 5, and shortstop Sebastian Walcott checked in at No. 54.
The news of the day in baseball wasn’t the desired news as it pertains to the Rangers.
Diamond Sports Group triumphantly announced in a 5 a.m. CST press release that it has a plan to escape bankruptcy with a new partner, a little company called Amazon. If approved by a bankruptcy court, Amazon will purchase the streaming rights to five teams under contract with Diamond.
Diamond doesn’t own the Rangers’ streaming rights, and Diamond is still attempting to work out a deal to broadcast Rangers games on Bally Sports Southwest for less than the $100-plus million they owe the Rangers.
MLB and the Rangers were surprised by the Diamond-Amazon proposal. It sounds like Diamond is trying to pull a fast one on MLB, and MLB doesn’t like it when someone tries to pull a fast one.
A judge, though, will determine whether the Diamond plan, which includes deals with lenders and the settlement of a lawsuit against parent company Sinclair Broadcasting, meets the requirements to exit bankruptcy.
Diamond said it will have a resolution with the three teams it doesn’t plan to keep under its current terms, including the Rangers, by Feb. 1.
For fans who can’t get Bally Sports Southwest (so, most of them), the end could be near if MLB takes over Rangers broadcasts for 2024 if there is no Diamond-Rangers agreement. If the Rangers have one more year with Diamond, they would be able to find a new partner for 2025 and beyond.
As for Jordan Montgomery, the money to sign him should be there either way. The Rangers play in the fifth-largest media market and are the reigning World Series champs.
They’ll find a partner.
Live podcast tonight
Good news: This is the latest reminder about the first live episode of the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast.
Better news: The live episode is tonight. The show starts at 7 p.m. at Hop & Sting Brewing Co in Grapevine. The guest list includes right-hander Josh Sborz, pitching coach Mike Maddux, former Rangers left-hander Derek Holland and radio man Matt Hicks.
Other guests might drop in for a beer and ball talk.
It’s free to attend. There will be drawings for free stuff. Those in attendance will have the chance to buy a Rangers Today annual subscription for a discounted price and a copy of At Long Last, the Rangers Today/Triumph Books look at the 2023 season.
Pup did nothing wrong. Enjoy.
Puppy things.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/i3vMPqrVaN
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 6, 2024
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com