Tuesday newsletter time: Award season could be a good one for Rangers
(AP photo/Julio Cortez)
The Rangers didn’t qualify for the postseason and win the World Series with a team of average players.
They had star power, which was on display on the regular season and in the postseason, and those players are being recognized this month.
The finalists for the annual Baseball Writers Association of America awards were announced Monday, and the Rangers showed well. Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are two of the three finalists for American League MVP, and Bruce Bochy is one of the three finalists for Manager of the Year.
Josh Jung was not a finalist for Rookie of the Year, which is highly questionable. His impact on the eventual World Series winners can’t be overstated.
Voting was conducted before the postseason.
The Rangers had never had two players in the top three of the MVP vote until this season. Seager and Semien are up against Shohei Ohtani, so they probably don’t have a very good chance at winning.
Maybe they will all be teammates in 2024.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde might be the choice over Bochy. I voted for that award, so I can’t reveal my ballot until the award is announced.
The Rangers had three Gold Glove winners — catcher Jonah Heim, first baseman Nathaniel Lowe and right fielder Adolis Garcia — and four Silver Slugger finalist — Seager, Semien, Lowe and Garcia.
More hardware is coming. The BBWAA winners will be announced next week. The Silver Slugger winners will be announced Thursday.
The Rangers reportedly did not extend a qualifying offer to free-agent catcher Mitch Garver, meaning the team will not receive draft-pick compensation should he sign elsewhere. The qualifying offer is worth $20,325,000 this offseason.
MLB Trade Rumors said that the Rangers would sign a veteran to back up Jonah Heim if Garver isn’t re-signed and that Sam Huff would be third on the depth chart. That’s not right.
Huff is out of minor-league options. He showed well defensively at Triple A Round Rock and at the plate. He was better in the majors, too. Rangers pitchers like throwing to him, in particular Jon Gray. If Garver doesn’t come back, or even if he does, Huff is going to be with the Rangers in 2024.
The Rangers need to give Huff the opportunity to be in the majors. He won’t catch every day, but he could catch a couple times a week, get a couple games at designated hitter and even play first base on occasion.
Will the Rangers try to re-sign Garver? They might. Will they sign a veteran catcher? Yeah. They signed Sandy Leon last offseason even with Heim and Garver locked in at catcher, and Leon contributed early in the season as Garver hit the injured list in April.
The veteran to be named will push Huff and be on hand just in case.
The Rangers went through the procedural process of adding the players on the 60-day injured list — right-hander Jacob deGrom and left-hander Brett Martin — to the 40-man roster. With those moves, the Rangers have seven spots available on the 40-man.
Those spots probably won’t all go to prospects the Rangers don’t want to lose in the Rule 5 draft. That list is headed by infielder Justin Foscue, the 2020 first-rounder, and will almost certainly include left-hander Antoine Kelly and right-handers Dane Acker and Marc Church.
Infielders Blaine Crim and Davis Wendzel have a case, as do righties Winston Santos, Jose Corniell and Justin Slaten.
Don’t be surprised if some from that group are included in trades this offseason. The Rangers have a bunch of prospects already on the 40-man and will run into the same roster-flexibility issues they encountered in 2023.
Have you preordered a copy of At Long Last yet?
At Long Last is a commemorative tribute book of the Rangers’ 2023 season as told by Rangers Today. Triumph Books complied 128 pages worth of the magic that led to the first world championship in club history.
Yes, I’ve seen the page proofs, and the book looks sharp. Great photos. I did all the writing throughout the season, save for the foreword by Michael Young. The Michael Young.
If he’s on-board, you should be, too.
Click the link in Twitter embed below to preorder for $16.95 plus shipping.
Relive with the #Rangers' run to the World Series via Rangers Today and @TriumphBooks, which has taken the greatest hits from the 2023 season and compiled a commemorative tribute book of the 2023 world champs. Preorder now. https://t.co/FhNy70Tn2I pic.twitter.com/owA9lNYRKo
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilsonTXR) November 7, 2023
Shohei Ohtani wants to play for the Rangers? Enjoy.
— Animals Being Happy (@animalsbeinghpy) November 6, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com