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Tuesday newsletter time: Rangers should play in Yamamoto sweepstakes

(AP photo/Eugene Hoshiko)



Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been posted by the Orix Buffaloes and can choose any of the 30 MLB teams to play for in 2024 and beyond. He has 45 days to find a fit and sign a contract.

The Rangers agree with everyone else that the 25-year-old is a future star. He might be the best pitcher on the free-agent market, better than Shohei Ohtani, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery.

Yamamoto has been named the top pitcher in Japan the past three seasons. He had a 1.21 ERA in 2023, relying on a four-seam fastball, split-fingered fastball and a curveball. He also throws a sinker, a cutter and a slider.

MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Yamamoto will receive a nine-year, $225 million contract. The club that wins his services will also have to pay a posting fee, which would be 15 percent of the final price tag.

A drop in the bucket at that point.

The Rangers have need for a starting pitcher, even two. Max Scherzer will be a free agent after next season. Nathan Eovaldi and John Gray will follow after 2025. As high as the Rangers are on their pitching prospects, they continue to shop for pitching.

They should shop for Yamamoto, with intentions to buy, even if it takes them out of the Ohtani sweepstakes.

Here’s the catch

For those who missed Friday on the Farm, shame on you. For those who read it, you learned that catcher Sam Huff will be heading to the Dominican Republic later this week for a stint winter ball. The Rangers anticipate that Huff will perform and that the stint will serve to launch him into spring training.

Some fans and even some in the media are calling for the Rangers to sign a backup to Gold Glove winner Jonah Heim. No need. Huff is ready.

He had a very good season at Triple A Round Rock and was better in 2023 stints with the Rangers than he was in 2022. He can play first base capably enough to give Nathaniel Lowe an occasional day off his feet, and if he’s hot at the plate, manager Bruce Bochy might want his power threat in the lineup at designated hitter.

Huff is out of minor-league options, which works in his favor.

The Rangers will sign a veteran catcher, as they did last offseason with Sandy Leon, to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. They might even sign two. Huff, though, looks to be the favorite to be the backup catcher in 2024.

Shop ’til you drop

Rangers Today warned you a few weeks ago that there would be some shameless self-promotion at times through the holidays, but this is also a service being provided so that you can stretch your holiday budget and be able to take care of every Rangers fan on your list.

First up is Fanatics, the official supplier of Rangers World Series gear. Click on this link. Fanatics runs different sales every day.

Next is In the Clutch Apparel, owned by our good friend Josh Sneed. Click on this link and enter RANGERSTODAY at checkout for a discount.

Finally, get your copy of At Long Last, the Rangers Today/Triumph Books commemorative 128-page look at the 2023 season. Get it directly from Triumph here or find it at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and other retailers.

Be sure to read the Friday newsletter and visit the site through Monday for some Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials.

Doggy video!

Me, when I look in the mirror after eating my way through the postseason.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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1 Comment

  1. deGrom Texas Ranger November 22, 2023

    Imanaga seems like a cheaper alternate. Texas can go after Roki Sasaki next offseason, once Heaney, Scherzer, and possibly Eovaldi are all free agents. He is superior in many ways to Yam.


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