The Texas Rangers have shocked the baseball universe with an unprecedented (for them) spending spree during the 2021-22 offseason.
During the past few days, teams were eager to complete free agent signings quickly, before the expected lockout on Wednesday.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the new season, and transactions, so teams like the Rangers tried to do the bulk of their offseason work up until Tuesday.
And what a job they have done.
Smashing The Free Agent Market
Texas Ranger combines payroll the last 4 seasons: $410 Million
Texas Rangers combined contracts to Corey Seager and Marcus Semien over the last two days: $500 Million pic.twitter.com/w1xFjfLKs5
— Scrimmage (@Scrimmage_co) November 30, 2021
Semien leads the majors in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in the last three seasons, with 15.4, and hit 45 homers with 15 stolen bases in 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Seager, on the other hand, is a top hitting shortstop, with some questions about his defense.
His offensive production so far has been top-notch: he can hit above .300 with more than 25 home runs annually.
Calhoun won’t hit for a high average, but is capable of bopping at least 30 homers per season if healthy.
Gray isn’t an ace (career 4.59 ERA), but getting out of Coors Field and into the Rangers’ great park for pitchers will help him, and he has always had good stuff.
Do these signings make the Rangers serious contenders in 2022?
There answer is no.
At least not yet.
The Rangers lineup is certainly much improved, and having Semien and Seager (and Calhoun) is very positive.
The offense went from very bad to about average, perhaps slightly above, which is an enormous jump.
It May Still Not Be Enough
But it may not be enough to compete in 2022 because there are still holes in the lineup, and, more importantly, the pitching is clearly a bottom-10 unit.
Gray is solid, but asking him to be an ace is perhaps too much.
After him, Dane Dunning and Taylor Hearn are better suited as backend starters, not number two and three, respectively, and Spencer Howard and Kolby Allard have taken forever to develop into solid major leaguers.
Texas needs at least three more starters, a solid center fielder, and a boatload of solid relievers to compete.
The offseason is not over, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Texas is on the right path (although they may regret the long commitment to Seager down the road), but the rest of the division has also made improvements.
Make no mistake: the Rangers improved a lot during the offseason.
They went from a 60-win team to perhaps a .500 club.
The Texas Rangers finished last in the league last season with a .670 OPS. Corey Seager and Marcus Semien will help improve that, but their pitching staff didn’t fare much better. Adding Jon Gray will not be enough in that regard. Three players won’t boost this team.
— Chris Wilson (@CWilson_Writes) November 30, 2021
That will not be enough for the postseason, though, not without many more improvements.