Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers in midst of offseason doldrums ahead of spring training
(Rangers Today/Jeff Wilson)
The Rangers have reached the point in the offseason where it feels like it’s time for spring training already.
It’s not, and this stretch will last until Fan Fest weekend Jan. 28. Then, things will move really quickly en route to Arizona.
But the Rangers haven’t even announced a report date for pitchers and catchers yet. The Super Bowl is in Glendale this year, and most available rental homes and hotels are sold out until Feb. 13.
But the headline-grabbing additions are probably done, barring a trade for a left fielder. The Rangers need bullpen help and depth at Triple A Round Rock, and they could also sign a couple potential utility infielders and catching depth.
Most of that will transpire before the start of spring training, though the Rangers have made it a trend to add players early in camp on non-roster deals. Last year shouldn’t really count, as the owners and players were coming out of a lockout and rushing to get spring training started and players signed.
Martin Perez, for example, signed after camp started.
In 2021, it was right-hander Ian Kennedy after camp started in Surprise and utility infielder Brock Holt days before it started.
There have been others throughout the years, including front-line players Ian Desmond (2016) and Mike Napoli (2017).
A lot of these signings, though, typically don’t result in players making the Opening Day roster.
Many of the players who will be signing over the next six weeks will get minor-league deals with invitations to spring training. Some won’t make the team and will become veteran depth in the minors, and others might opt out for an opportunity with another club.
The Rangers have time to get it all done.
Unfortunately, we’ve hit the point in the offseason when it seems as if they should already be in Arizona.
How much relief?
The Rangers haven’t put a number on how many relievers they hope to acquire this offseason, though they do plan to add.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he’d like a piece at the back end to help ensure that there’s always a fresh arm available for a save situation. He also likes multi-inning relievers, and Bochy likes the options already on the roster (right-hander Jake Odorizzi and left-handers Brock Burke and Taylor Hearn).
Jose Leclerc is in line to be the closer, with Jonathan Hernandez and Joe Barlow setting him up.
Brett Martin looks as if he will return to the middle innings and would be a nice left-handed pitcher used early/or late.
That leaves one spot for what Bochy would want.
A few caveats:
Half of the players in that bullpen scenario can be optioned to the minor leagues. That’s critical on the injury front.
The rotation is a tweaked oblique from needing Odorozzi. That could result in Glenn Otto coming up or Bochy and pitching coach Mike Maddux having to find a reliever in the minors to fill in.
The guess here is that Young will add two relievers to the bullpen, again creating more depth in the minors.
Rangers Today reminders
It’s been a while since the newsletter featured the reminders section and several of you have subscribed at some level over the past few weeks, so this seems like the perfect for a refresher course.
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We have a good time over here while also covering news, writing analysis and throwing stuff on a wall and seeing what sticks. Enjoy yourself.
Me and my daughter when I get home from a road trip. Enjoy.
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— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 3, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com