Tuesday newsletter time: Catching up on Rangers moves over the holidays
(AP photo/Ashley Landis)
Happy 2023, guys, and a warm welcome to the those who signed up for Rangers Today toward the end of 2022.
Usually, these newsletters appear daily in your inbox, but these aren’t usual times.
Thanks to TCU, the past week was busy for the Wilsons, and that will continue into next week. It’s been a fun ride following the Horned Frogs to the College Football Playoff National Championship for the all-TCU, all-the-time website Frogs Today.
Many with the Rangers, including general manager Chris Young, have a rooting interest with the Frogs. Young’s father, Charles, played football at TCU from 1965-1967, and wasn’t particularly happy when the Frogs didn’t recruit his tall and talented son for basketball.
Young wasn’t just sitting around over the holidays. The Rangers sprinkled in a major signing and lost a player on a waiver claim.
First up, the new player. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi signed a two-year, $34 million deal last Tuesday, becoming the fourth starting pitcher added this offseason. Three were free agents: Jacob deGrom, Andrew Heaney and Eovaldi.
The other newcomer, added in a trade with Atlanta, is Jake Odorizzi. He could be ticketed for a swing role in which he pitches most of his innings out of the bullpen. The Rangers could also use a six-man rotation for parts of the season, considering the injury concerns that exist with five of the six starters.
Eovaldi throws hard and doesn’t walk many batters, traits the Rangers sought out when free agency opened. His addition gives the Rangers more rotation depth, with Dane Dunning and Glenn Otto now long shots to make the Opening Day roster. Dunning is still rehabbing from hip surgery in September, and there is no set timeline for his return.
The Rangers believe their starting pitching will keep them in every game. Some upgraded relievers would help, as would a left fielder even though the lineup should be better.
The roster work isn’t done. There are six weeks left until spring training, and the Rangers have made it a habit of signing players during camp who end up making the team.
The Rangers traded outfielder Eli White to Atlanta for cash considerations after White had been designated for assignment to make room for waiver claim Nick Mears, a right-handed reliever who had been designated for assignment by the Pirates and has since been DFA’d to create a roster spot for Eovaldi.
There was some grumbling on Twitter after the Rangers let White go. He has become a splendid defensive outfielder who in 2022 made one of the best catches in team history as he leaped high above the fence in left-center field to rob Ji-Man Choi of a three-run home run.
He made another terrific diving catch the next week at Cleveland.
White was injured soon after, breaking his wrist, when he dived for a flyball and crashed into Charlie Culberson in left-center field. White didn’t play again. The arm was healthy by September, but he pulled his hamstring in the first game of a rehab assignment.
White is also a .185 career hitter. He is out of minor-league options and was going to have to win a roster spot, and it was going to be a difficult task.
Leody Taveras, Bubba Thompson, Brad Miller, Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran would have been competing for roster spots with him, and the Rangers are still pursuing outfield help this offseason.
White had his opportunities to show he could hit. While he’s wildly fast and would be a very good pinch runner and defensive replacement, Taveras and Thompson are either as fast or faster and aren’t defensive slouches. Smith is fast, too, and can play the infield better than White. Taveras is actually a better defender than White.
White is a good dude, but his time with the Rangers has run out.
Yeah, Rangers Today hasn’t been cranking at its usual level, but it’s not like we completely took two weeks off. When news broke, we covered it, even from the Fiesta Bowl. And our YouTube channel didn’t go anywhere, and we’re hoping to shoot an episode this week. You should subscribe to it for free. And if you don’t have full access to Rangers Today, get it for as little as $5.99 a month. As for our latest content, here it is in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Making Bubba Thompson’s case
Friday on the Farm: Same pitchers will be under spotlight
Rangers Today Baseball Podcast: Links for season-ending episode
OK. Back to work, everyone. Enjoy.
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Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org