The Texas Rangers are in a tight race for the American League West division title, and they are not afraid to make some bold moves to improve their chances of reaching the postseason. The Rangers have been one of the most active teams in the trade market, acquiring several pitchers to bolster their rotation, bullpen, and a catcher to provide some depth behind the plate.
Max Scherzer: The ace of the staff
The biggest splash the Rangers made was trading for three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer from the New York Mets. Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in baseball, with a career ERA of 3.15 and a strikeout rate of 10.6 per nine innings. He has also been durable, pitching at least 200 innings in seven of his last eight seasons.
The Rangers gave up Luisangel Acuña, the younger brother of Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. and cash to acquire Scherzer, who will remain in Texas through next season. The Mets were willing to part with Scherzer after losing their ace Jacob deGrom to elbow surgery for the rest of the year.
Scherzer is expected to make his first start as a Ranger on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels. He will join a rotation featuring All-Star Kyle Gibson, veteran Mike Foltynewicz, and rookie Dane Dunning. Scherzer will give the Rangers a reliable and dominant starter who can match up with any opponent in a potential playoff series.
Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton: The reinforcements for the bullpen
The Rangers added two arms to their bullpen, trading for left-hander Jordan Montgomery and right-hander Chris Stratton from the St. Louis Cardinals. Montgomery has been a solid starter for the Cardinals this season, posting a 3.69 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 19 starts. He has also shown an ability to pitch deep into games, averaging 5.8 innings per start.
Montgomery will likely move to the bullpen for the Rangers, where he can provide some length and versatility as a swingman or a long reliever. He can also spot start if needed, giving the Rangers some insurance in case of injuries or fatigue.
This season, Stratton has been a reliable reliever for the Cardinals, posting a 2.59 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 41 appearances. He has also been effective against lefties and righties, holding them to a .211 and .212 batting average, respectively.
Stratton will join a bullpen that has been one of the strengths of the Rangers this season, ranking fourth in the AL in ERA (3.54) and third in saves (32). He will complement closer Ian Kennedy, who has converted 22 of 24 save opportunities, and setup men Josh Sborz and Joely Rodriguez, who have both posted sub-3 ERAs.
Austin Hedges: The backup catcher
The Rangers made one more move before the deadline, acquiring catcher Austin Hedges from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for cash considerations. Hedges is known for his defense behind the plate, having won a Gold Glove in 2017 with the San Diego Padres. He has also thrown out 36% of baserunners attempting to steal this season, well above the league average of 24%.
Hedges will provide some depth and experience at catcher for the Rangers, who have relied on Jose Trevino and Jonah Heim as their primary backstops this season. Trevino has been solid offensively, hitting .257 with seven homers and 34 RBIs, while Heim has been impressive defensively, committing only one error and allowing only two passed balls.
Hedges will likely serve as a backup catcher for the Rangers, giving Trevino and Heim some rest and mentoring them on handling a pitching staff. He will also give the Rangers another option against left-handed pitchers, as he has hit .250 with four homers and nine RBIs against them this season. The Rangers are currently the favorites to win AL West with the odds of +110; betting fans can use BetMGM Bonus Code to place their bets.
Corey Seager and Marcus Semien: The dynamic duo of the infield
The Rangers also significantly upgraded their infield, signing two top free agents in the market: shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien. Seager and Semien had stellar seasons in 2022, leading their teams to the playoffs and earning MVP votes.
Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract with the Rangers, the second-largest deal in MLB history. The former Los Angeles Dodger is a two-time All-Star, a Rookie of the Year, and a World Series MVP. He is one of the best hitters in the game, with a career slash line of .297/.367/.506 and 146 home runs. He is also a solid defender at shortstop, with a career fielding percentage of .974.
Semien signed a six-year, $150 million contract with the Rangers, the largest deal for a second baseman in MLB history. The former Oakland Athletic is an All-Star, a Gold Glover, and a Silver Slugger. He is one of the most versatile and durable players in the game, having played every position except pitcher and catcher. He is among the most productive players, with a career slash line of .257/.325/.443 and 177 home runs.
Bruce Bochy: The man with the plan
The Rangers also made a smart move in hiring Bruce Bochy as their new manager last winter. Bochy is one of baseball's most respected and successful managers, having won three World Series titles with the San Francisco Giants. He has also managed over 4,000 games in his career, ranking 11th all-time in wins.
Bochy has brought his winning culture and experience to the Rangers, instilling confidence and discipline in his players. He has also shown his tactical acumen and flexibility, making adjustments and decisions based on matchups and situations. He has also been praised for his communication and leadership skills, creating a positive and cohesive environment in the clubhouse.
Bochy has guided the Rangers to a 62-46 record this season, putting them first in the AL West. He has also helped develop some of the young players on the roster, such as Adolis García, Leody Taveras, and Jonah Heim. He has also managed some of the veterans on the roster, such as Ian Kennedy, Robbie Grossman, and Brad Miller.
What’s next for the Rangers?
The Rangers have made it clear that they are going for it this season, adding some quality players to their roster without giving up any of their top prospects or major league talent. They have shown that they are unsatisfied with being competitive but want to win now.
The Rangers are currently half a game ahead of the Houston Astros in the AL West, with a record of 62-46. They have won seven of their last 10 games, including sweeping the Padres over the weekend. They have also been dominant at home, posting a 36-20 record at Globe Life Field.
The Rangers have 54 games left in the regular season and will face tough competition. They have 6 games left against the Astros, who have the second-best offense in the AL. They also have 9 games left against the Oakland Athletics, who are only three games behind them in the division. They will also face some playoff contenders from other divisions, such as the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Chicago White Sox.
The Texas Rangers have shown they are serious about contending for the World Series this year, making bold and smart moves to improve their roster and chances. They have added some of the best players in the game, such as Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, and Marcus Semien, to complement their existing talent and depth. They have also hired one of the best managers in the game, Bruce Bochy, to lead and inspire them. The Rangers have been one of baseball's most exciting and impressive teams this season, and they are not done yet. They are ready to make some noise in October and are not afraid of anyone.