Tuesday newsletter time: Report Day? Spring Training Eve? Whatever it is, it’s here
(AP photo/Charlie Riedel)
If this were the good ‘ol days, of, like, a year ago, today would be report day to spring training for pitchers and catchers, but now, word from the Rangers is that there is no more official report day.
They just show up, and the next day they practice for six weeks. Maybe the weird 2021 spring or the lockout-shortened 2022 spring were the cause.
But for the sentimentalists, today is report day for Rangers pitchers and catchers. Their first workout is Wednesday, and the first full-squad workout is Monday.
The start of spring training isn’t the best day of the baseball season, but it’s pretty darn close. Only one team gets to celebrate the true best, the day the World Series champs are crowned. The Rangers did that last season and will attempt to do it again in 2024.
First up, though, are 38 days at the Surprise Recreation Campus,162 games in the regular season and the potential for 22 more in the playoffs.
It’s the longest ride in sports, and the Rangers finally stayed on all the way last season.
TV team announced
David Murphy played spoiler a couple weeks ago on the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast, where he said that he and a couple other guys would be chopping up in-game analyst duties this season in an effort to replace C.J. Nitkowski.
Bally Sports Southwest confirmed that Monday, when its deal to carry Rangers games in 2024 became official. Terms were not disclosed.
Murphy is one of three former Rangers players, along with Dave Valle and Mike Bacsik, who will call games alongside Dave Raymond and, on occasion for the first time, Jared Sandler from the radio team. Bacsik spent most of last season in the studio but did a nice job as the Rangers closed the first half at Washington.
With the Rangers seeking a TV deal for 2025 beyond, this arrangement might be one time only. They likely could have found a full-time color guy after Nitkowski departed for the Braves in December, but with uncertainty as to who would even be broadcasting the games in 2024, the three-headed monster was probably the safe play.
Could it be Murphy? He’s stepping up his commitment for the first time this season, and taking a bigger bite might be too big of an ask. But there aren’t many people out there better than Murphy.
Remaining available starters
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who spent last spring injured with the Rangers after a trade from the Braves, has been working out for clubs in the hopes of landing a major-league deal.
He needed shoulder surgery for what was diagnosed as arm fatigued and never pitched for the Rangers. I don’t recall if he ever made it to Globe Life Field. It worked out just fine, especially with Dane Dunning emerging as the pitcher the Rangers thought Odorizzi would be.
Odorizzi is now part of the group of unsigned free-agent pitchers that continues to be topped by left-handers Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. Both appear to be out of the Rangers’ price range after the club exceeded the luxury tax and with the TV uncertainty after this season.
The rest of the group has some blemishes in one form or the other, but includes Michael Lorenzen, Zack Greinke, Noah Syndergaard, Domingo German, Trevor Bauer and Julio Urias. Syndergaard is from Mansfield, which is not one of his blemishes.
With spring training about to start, maybe a pitcher takes a budget-friendly deal. But with spring training about to start, the more it looks as if the Rangers will go with what they have.
Forget sit and stay. I want my dogs to do this. Enjoy.
Pupper wipes wet paws before entering the house..🐶🐾😍 pic.twitter.com/Xg1cxUt8P3
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) February 12, 2024
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com