Tuesday newsletter time: New year, new expectations for Rangers
(AP photo/Julio Cortez)
The 2023 season ended with a first for the Rangers — their first World Series title.
The Rangers return eight of their nine hitters from most of the postseason and all six All-Stars. They have some injuries in the rotation but have time to plug the holes and then could have their best rotation ever for the final two months.
The rest of the American League West hasn’t done much to get better.
No one thought the Rangers would prevail once the postseason started, but their unexpected triumph is now the expectation going forward.
As the reigning world champions, the Rangers will be facing high external expectations, too.
That’s not a bad thing. All teams should want their fans to expect them to go to the playoffs and win. The players should embrace the expectations. So should ownership and the front office.
They have. The Rangers expect to be in contention in September, in 2024 and beyond.
Only six weeks remain until the first spring workout for pitchers and catchers Feb. 14. Opening Day is set for March 28 at Globe Life Field. The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 16, also a home game. The final day of the regular season is Sept. 29.
It’s a long ride, 162 games’ worth. Don’t panic amid the lows. Don’t get too confident amid the highs. But don’t curb those high expectations.
So, what are the Rangers going to do the rest of the offseason? Well, they certainly aren’t done, not with two spots open on the 40-man roster.
The guess here is that a starting pitcher and a veteran reliever are added before camp begins. They could do both via free agency on major-league deals or via trade. The longer Jordan Montgomery remains a free agent, the better the Rangers’ chances of re-signing him.
Don’t buy too heavily into any rumors that the Rangers are in the mix for Josh Hader. He wants too much, and long-term deals for closers have never been the Rangers’ style.
Once camp starts, the Rangers can move right-handers Jacob deGrom, Carson Coleman and Tyler Mahle to the 60-day injured list, freeing up more 40-man wiggle room. With that in mind, the Rangers will open up one spot to bring back either Robbie Grossman or Travis Jankowski as a veteran outfielder off the bench and an option at designated hitter.
There will be more non-roster deals to build depth, and perhaps one of those players will win a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Hopefully the ball gets rolling soon.
Rangers Today stuff
The Rangers Today Baseball Podcast team took a trip last week to Hop & Sting Brewing Co. to scout out the location for our live show at 7 p.m. Jan. 18. This has a chance to be pretty cool, with some pretty good guests.
The brewery and the podcast want as many people as possible there. Sign up here to help us get a head count.
We’re planning to shoot a new episode Friday.
A couple reminders:
Rangers Today subscriptions are back at their regular price of $60 — still a great value.
If you didn’t get that official World Series gear you were hoping would be under the tree, Fanatics has your back at this link.
And don’t forget about At Long Last, the Rangers Today commemorative book from Triumph Books. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble or at the Triumph website.
Ought keep him busy for years. Enjoy.
K-9 police dog sent into retirement with a tennis ball surprise.. 😊 pic.twitter.com/z46iaVAXQJ
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 1, 2024
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org