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Wednesday newsletter time: Remaining free-agent relievers who could entice Rangers

(AP photo/Mark J. Terrill)



Presumably because of their bullpen woes in 2023 and their penchant for spending the past few offseasons, the Rangers remained tied to free-agent closer Josh Hader.

Rangers Today doesn’t see it happening, not with the Rangers’ history of not splurging on relievers and with the current uncertainty with their TV deal. A one-year deal for a reliever still rates as more likely than Hader, who is seeking to become the highest-paid closer in the game.

If they aren’t already, the Rangers should be working hard on a trade with the Guardians for Emmanuel Clase. Get right-handed starter Shane Bieber while they’re at it and call it an offseason.

Options beyond Hader remain as free agents.

Keep an eye on right-hander David Robertson, who the Rangers mulled at the trade deadline and who would come on a one-year deal. He has pitched in high-leverage situations throughout his career and always seems to be pitching in the postseason.

Yeah, he turns 39 this season, but so what? He was a very effective 38-year-old in 2023, despite a lackluster showing after a trade to the Marlins, and would give the Rangers another option at the back of their bullpen.

Jordan Hicks, who routinely tops 100 mph, has history with pitching coach Mike Maddux but might be seeking a multiyear contract in his first go at free agency. Robert Stephenson is likely looking to cash in on his terrific stretch last season with the Rays, but teams might have questions on if he can repeat that.

Aroldis Chapman is still out there, still throws hard and can still be effective when used with proper rest. And the right dosage of heart medication.

Rating the Rangers

When there’s no news, as is often the case in a baseball offseason, websites still need to get web clicks to satisfy their sponsors.

(Rangers Today doesn’t currently have any sponsors, though we’re willing to listen.)

Alas, we present the initial power rankings from mlb.com, which likes the Rangers, and the as-of-now projected winning percentages by FanGraphs, which doesn’t like the Rangers.

The mlb.com list came out Tuesday, and the Rangers are ranked third overall and are the high-positioned American League team. Does that mean the Rangers will go to back to the World Series to defend their world championship, the list asks? Maybe.

The Rangers should be able to weather their first-half injury woes in the rotation, mlb.com says, and will have plenty of firepower offensively to be a force.

FanGraphs, meanwhile, has the Rangers with a .506 winning percentage, which works out to an 82-80 record. That could change, depending on what else happens this offseason. Re-signing left-hander Jordan Montgomery, for instance, would bolster the Rangers’ rotation and, subsequently, their projected winning percentage with FanGraphs.

As of now, though, the Rangers are behind the Astros and the Mariners in the American League West and a could percentage points behind the Diamondbacks, who lost the World Series in five games to the Rangers. The Orioles, the 101-win team that was swept out of the playoffs by the Rangers in the division series, fall fourth in the AL East.

The stories/projections did their job. Lots of clicks.

Beltre a lock

Through 107 ballots revealed and recorded by Ryan Thibodaux, known as @NotMrTibbs on Twitter, Adrian Beltre is cruising his way into the Hall of Fame after appearing on more than 98 percent of the ballots.

He was unlikely to appear on 100 percent of the ballots. Only one player, Mariano Rivera, ever has, and some from a significant batch of voters who don’t reveal their ballots always pull some shenanigans.

Ballots were due Dec. 31, and I have submitted mine. I will reveal it soon, before the results are announced Jan. 23, but rest assured that I voted for Beltre.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 21 in Cooperstown, N.Y. That’s a big week for the Rangers, who on July 16 play host to the All-Star Game.

Doggy video!

I’m not sure how much help this dog is providing, but whatevs. Enjoy.

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 January 5, 2024

    MLB Trade Rumors readers were polled, and quite a few think Texas will try to clear salary to add more. I can only see Semien being ecpendable the start of the year, and Gray/Heaney may be dealt after the triumvirate returns, but I highly doubt it. Texas should just give Duran, White, and a few low prospects for Clase.


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