The 60-102 Texas Rangers entered the offseason deciding to compete in 2022.
Obviously, the offseason will restart at some point, and the Rangers should be happy with their haul so far.
But they may have a couple of regrets anyway.
Here are three of them, with the caveat that they will still have time to address these situations once transactions are allowed again.
3. Not Addressing The Bullpen
Perhaps the Rangers should have spent some money (or trade assets) to address the bullpen.
The unit wasn’t a disaster, ranking 17th in MLB with a 4.13 ERA this past season, but if they want to be contenders (which is the image they have projected so far), they need more arms to enter the top ten.
They traded two good relief arms during the deadline: Ian Kennedy and Joely Rodriguez.
Right now, there are no true shutdown relievers on the roster: Spencer Patton, John King, Joe Barlow, and Brett Martin are solid.
The free agent market still has some solid pitchers: Danny Duffy, Kenley Jansen, Ryan Tepera, Collin McHugh, Andrew Chafin, Evan Marshall, Jimmy Nelson, and others.
What the Rangers really need is people who can miss bats in those late-inning, high-leverage spots.
They ranked 26th among MLB bullpens in K/9, which means strikeouts per nine innings, with 8.49.
Not addressing the bullpen prior to the lockout may have been a mistake because teams could attack the market like sharks when things restart.
2. Not Bringing In More Starters
The Rangers, if the season started today, would go with Gray as their ace.
Gray is not a bad pitcher (4.59 ERA, 3.91 Fielding Independent Pitching) but no contending team should enter the season with him as the frontline starter.
Instead of bringing in two high-priced shortstops in Seager and Semien, perhaps the Rangers should have brought in just one, had Nick Solak play second base and develop with MLB at-bats, and brought in someone who can actually get some outs in the rotation: a Kevin Gausman, a Robbie Ray, or even a Marcus Stroman.
Of course, the Rangers will likely have another chance to address the issue when the lockout ends, but then, they will only be able to choose among Carlos Rodon, Clayton Kershaw (who should end up re-signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers), or Yusei Kikuchi.
Those aren’t bad options at all, just not at the elite tier level.
Sources: #Rangers still working to upgrade their starting rotation after the big signings of Semien and Seager. They've inquired to the #Reds about trading for one of their starting pitchers (Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, or Tyler Mahle). @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 1, 2021
1. The Corey Seager Contract
We understand the Rangers had to overpay in order to bring in top talent: after all, players want to join winning teams, and Texas finished last in the AL West by a wide margin in 2021.
But paying Seager $325 million could end up to haunt them in year seven or eight of the deal.
Seager is not a graceful athlete and isn’t terribly good defensively, so there is a chance he needs to be moved out of shortstop soon.
He was the best offensive shortstop available, and should really improve the Rangers.
However, he will make a lot of money in his late-thirties when he’s probably not very good.
I really wanna know if the Rangers offered Correa the 10/$325 deal first before they gave it to Seager. To me Correa is hands-down better than Seager. Don’t really know what they were thinking there.
— Barret Boom Bostick (@boombostick21) December 19, 2021
Carlos Correa, the other truly elite free agent shortstop, may end up signing for considerably less money than Seager.