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Wednesday newsletter time: With Ohtani gone, are Seager, Semien tops in AL?

(AP photo/Stacy Bengs)

 

 

The Rangers’ social media team has been on a heater since the postseason started, and they are keeping tabs on the offseason transactions across baseball.

Anyone who wasn’t in a coma knows about Shohei Ohtani going to the Dodgers for 10 years and $700 million. Or is it 10 years and $460 million? Or 10 and $20 million?

Whatever. He’s no longer in the American League, which prompted the Rangers to declare that Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are now the two best players in the league.

They’re not wrong. Ohtani was the unanimous choice for the AL MVP, and Seager and Semien finished second and third. Ohtani’s gone, so … .

The guess here is Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge would get a lot of votes for the AL’s top player. Don’t forget about Mike Trout, who has been sacked by injuries the past two seasons. Any takers on Julio Rodriguez?

The most recent evidence from Seager and Semien definitely has them in the conversation. Seager might be the best hitter, though Yordan Alvarez is pretty tough. Yandy Diaz won the AL batting title.

At minimum, it looks as if the Rangers might get their money’s worth from Seager and Semien.

Another standstill?

The free-agent market is gathering some steam now that Ohtani has signed, including one of his final four suitors, the Giants, signing Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee to a six-year, $113 million contract.

Pitchers, though, haven’t been signing, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto might be the reason.

The latest star from Japan has met with three teams and is expected to interview with at least two more. The right-hander is expected to pocket at least $200 million, and that number might hit $300 million. Hey, maybe he’ll defer a huge percentage until after the deal ends.

As is always the case with the Rangers, there’s no word from them on who they have targeted. They have seen Yamamoto and really like him. They just might not like him as much as the teams who missed out on Ohtani, even the one who signed him or the two New York clubs. Boston also is reportedly in on Yamamoto.

Were the Red Sox to land him, that might help the Rangers in their pursuits of Jordan Montgomery.

Yamamoto, like Ohtani before him, might be holding up the market.

Another to Royals

At one point during the Rangers’ previous World Series years, the Orioles kept acquiring Rangers players.

Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter went in the 2011 trade for Koji Uehara, but the train east actually first departed when Vladimir Guerrero and Clay Rapada played in Baltimore in 2011 after his only season with the Rangers. Nelson Cruz signed on for 2014. Julio Borbon, Scott Feldman and Craig Gentry eventually ended up in Baltimore. Taylor Teagarden and Pedro Strop, too.

Going back before the World Series teams, Sammy Sosa went to the Orioles in 2008 after spending 2007 with the Rangers. Kevin Millwood was traded to the Orioles after the 2009 season for Chris Ray and Ben Snyder. More recently, Yovani Gallardo (2015) and Andrew Cashner (2017) turned solid seasons with the Rangers into free-agent dollars the next season with the Orioles.

If trends continue, the Royals will be a new pipeline with the Rangers.

Right-hander Chris Stratton signed a one-year deal Tuesday with Kansas City, the day after Will Smith signed a one-year pact. The Royals received Cole Ragans on June 30 in the Aroldis Chapman trade, and the Royals also ended up with Bubba Thompson and Taylor Hearn at various points last season.

The Rangers, meanwhile, added Drayton Moore as an assistant to general manager Chris Young. Moore was dismissed as Royals president late in the 2022 season.

Guess where they met? Yep, the Royals from 2015-2017 when Moore was GM and Young was a pitcher.

Doggy video!

Good luck to all the students grinding out their finals. Enjoy.

 

Jeff Wilson, jwilson@star-telegram.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 December 13, 2023

    Seager is understandable. Semien isn’t even close. He is above average and plays everyday hitting leadoff, even when he should really take some time off to get out of a slump and help the team. As you said, Trout and Judge are likely better. Soto, deGrom, Langford, possibly Evan Carter, Luis Robert, Jose Altuve, and Yordan Alvarez are certainly also better than Semien. Now, Hader should get a deferred contract or take a lower AAV deal to sign with the reigning WS Champs. Kershaw for 1/10 or 2/30 would also be wonderful due to his surgery.

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