Rangers Upgraded Pitching in the Offseason


A baseball glove and some baseballs are set out in a field. | Image by Steshka Willems/Pexels

One could argue the Texas Rangers’ offseason started in August — when the team fired manager Chris Woodward and President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels.

The club started the season slowly, with a 7-14 record in the first month. A winning record in May was a false sign of hope, as the team had a losing record in each of the following months.

The 2022 Texas Rangers had a season to forget. After making moves to contend, the team finished in fourth place in the American League (AL) West with a 68-94 record and a pitching staff that placed in the bottom ten of all major statistics.

The only real bright side was that the offense was among the leaders in home runs, runs scored, and stolen bases, but the offense could not overcome a .239 team batting average (MLB average was .243), .301 on-base percentage (25th in the MLB), and abysmal pitching.

After another sub-par season, the Rangers knew they had plenty to fix and took some big swings.

The most extensive upgrades come from the pitching staff. Last season, the Rangers’ pitching staff had a collective earned run average (ERA) of 4.22, 22nd out of 30 major league teams.

Last year’s starting rotation featured Jordan Lyles, Mike Foltynewicz, Dane Dunning, Kyle Gibson, and Kolby Allard. Only Gibson had an ERA lower than 4.50 and a winning record.

In the offseason, the Rangers spent $300 million to build an entirely new rotation, undoubtedly influenced by general manager Chris Young, a former MLB pitcher.

The additions include Jacob DeGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Andrew Heaney, and Jake Odorizzi. The first four were free agent additions, while Odorizzi was acquired in a trade.

Only Jon Gray remains from last year’s rotation and is now projected as the fifth starter. He began last season as a possible No.1.

DeGrom is one of the most well-known pitchers in baseball as a two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star. He spent the first nine years of his career with the New York Mets and signed a five-year, $185 million deal with the Rangers in December.

Eovaldi has been inconsistent and has dealt with a handful of injuries throughout his career. He has been a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Miami Marlins, the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Boston Red Sox and was an All-Star in 2021. He is 67-68 with a 4.16 ERA in 11 seasons.

Eovaldi signed a two-year contract with Texas.

Perez should be a familiar name to Rangers fans as he began his career with the club in 2012 and was part of the team last year. He spent eight seasons in Texas before signing with the Minnesota Twins as a free agent. He also played for Boston before returning to Texas and earning an All-Star nod with a career year last season.

Heaney is also coming off a career year with the Dodgers. Before last season, Heaney’s only year with an ERA below 4.00 was 2015. He bested that with a 3.10 performance in 16 games in 2022.

He signed a two-year deal this offseason.

The Rangers traded Allard to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Odorizzi. The veteran has bounced around the majors between Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Houston, and Atlanta and was an All-Star with the Twins in 2019.

Gray was one of the prized additions to last season’s squad. His numbers have never been pretty, but he did spend his first seven seasons in Colorado — which tends to inflate some numbers. Gray was 7-7 with a 3.96 ERA for the Rangers last season.

The Rangers also have prized prospects Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker looming in the farm system.

The Rangers did not make any big moves regarding their position players this offseason.

Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Adolis Garcia, Nathaniel Lowe, and Jonah Heim all return, plus the club will get designated hitter Mitch Garver back after an injury-plagued 2022 season.

One of the most significant additions for the Rangers was the hiring of their new manager. Bruce Bochy has had a long, successful resume in Major League Baseball.

Bochy has been managing in the Major Leagues since 1995, spending 12 seasons with the San Diego Padres and 13 with the San Francisco Giants. His teams have won four league pennants and three World Series.

He is bringing a familiar face back to Arlington. Mike Maddux, the Rangers’ pitching coach from 2009 to 2015, is returning in the same position.

In his first stint with the club, the Rangers made four playoff appearances and won two AL pennants. He worked with pitchers like CJ Wilson, Cliff Lee, and Colby Lewis and consistently had a staff ERA under 4.00.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 15, and position players will join on February 20. The Rangers’ first spring training game is against the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Arizona, on February 24.

The regular season begins March 30 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Globe Life Field.

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