Wednesday newsletter time: Seager injury puts more focus on Duran
(AP photo/LM Otero)
The Corey Seager news from Tuesday isn’t great, but it isn’t the end of the world.
He should miss around four or five weeks of spring training, not the regular season, after having a sports hernia repaired, and the Rangers believe he should be ready for games that count by Opening Day, March 28, or a few games later.
As such, the team isn’t going to sign a free-agent infielder to add depth. The Rangers have depth, and it starts with Ezequiel Duran.
He blossomed early last season as Seager mended a pulled hamstring and stayed in the lineup after Seager returned. Duran’s production petered off when he was filling in for third baseman Josh Jung, but the Rangers were impressed with how hard Duran worked while traveling with the team in the postseason.
If Seager isn’t ready for the opener, Duran should be. Josh Smith and Jonathan Ornelas should also be available. Duran could be in the lineup if Seager is healthy, as the Rangers mull their options at designated hitter.
Duran might be first on the list, ahead of a host of others that includes 2023 first-rounder Wyatt Langford. Justin Foscue, the 2020 first-rounder, is ready for big-league at-bats and is a strong DH candidate.
There’s that Brandon Belt rumor out there, too.
For now, Duran figures prominently in the Rangers’ spring training plans. Langford, Foscue, et al, could impact how much Duran plays in the regular season.
Nolan turns 77
Nolan Ryan, who seemed ageless during his 27-year MLB career, turns 77 today.
Hopefully his day is filled with eating red meat, checking out some livestock and doing whatever else he wants. He is Nolan Ryan, so he pretty much does that anyway.
Ryan, of course, threw a record seven no-hitters and is the all-time strikeout king at 5,714. He won 324 games.
He never won a Cy Young Award, which, for those who have watched the documentary Facing Nolan, came as a shock to his peers. The closest he came was in 1973, when he finished second after breaking Sandy Koufax’s single-season strikeout record by one. The 383 still stands.
Jim Palmer won comfortably after going 22-9 with a 2.40 ERA and six shutouts. Ryan went 21-16 with a 2.87 ERA, four shutouts and two no-hitters. Ryan logged 29 1/3 more innings, seven more complete games and 225 more strikeouts.
He also had a higher bWAR at 7.7 to 6.3, but Bert Blyleven had a 9.8 WAR and a 156 ERA+ to Palmer’s 155 and Ryan’s 123. Had those stats been around, Blyleven might have won the Cy Young and presumably gotten into the Hall of Fame much sooner than he did.
Ex-Ranger du jour
The Rangers could potentially be seeing a lot of Nick Solak in 2024.
The infielder signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners and will be in their spring camp down the road from the Rangers in Peoria. He’s handy guy to have around with the ability to play multiple positions.
He joined the Rangers in 2019 in a trade with the Rays for right-hander Pete Fairbanks. The Rays have officially won that deal.
Solak was given the opportunity to win a starting job at second base and third base, and he did bag some starts in 2020 in the outfield. It was an adventure at times, but he persevered.
He was the starting second baseman in 2021 and showed promised with seven April home runs. He hit four over the rest of the season, and once Marcus Semien signed in the offseason and the Rangers improved as a whole, there wasn’t room any longer for Solak.
He bounced around multiple organizations last season.
A good guy, Rangers Today wishes him luck.
Now, get this damn hat off my head. Enjoy.
— out of context dogs (@contextdogs) January 30, 2024
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org