Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are really just getting started with the Texas Rangers, and already have a World Series championship together with a franchise that had never won one.
The Rangers, their half-billion dollar middle infield and their almost-certain Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy, who just won his fourth title after coming out of retirement, should be all set to contend again next season.
Their long-term plan may have resulted in a title quicker than anyone could have expected, but it was never about a one-and-done run for the franchise that waited 63 seasons — the last 52 in Texas — to hoist the World Series trophy.
“A lot of trust from them to me and me to them, and a lot of trust for Marcus to come, a lot of trust for Jon (Gray) — all these guys that came here and had the same vision,” Seager said. “It's pretty cool to see it through.”
Seager is only two seasons into the $325 million, 10-year deal the now two-time World Series MVP signed in free agency two winters ago with Texas coming off a 102-loss season, at the same time Semien got $175 million for seven years and right-hander Gray $56 million for four years. Then last offseason, after another 94 losses, Bochy was hired and the rotation bolstered with two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, right-hander and Texas native Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney on multiyear deals.
Texas this offseason will look to re-sign left-hander Jordan Montgomery, the trade-deadline acquisition from the St. Louis Cardinals who is eligible for free agency. He was 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 11 regular-season starts before winning two AL Championship Series games, including the Game 7 clincher.
Three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, the other deadline acquisition from the Mets, opted in for the 2024 season as part of that trade.
ALCS MVP Adolis García is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time, but the slugger who set a postseason record with 22 RBIs before missing the last two World Series games with an oblique issue is still under team control for next season. The same goes for switch-hitting All-Star starting catcher Jonah Heim, center fielder Leody Taveras, starter-reliever Dane Dunning and reliever Josh Sborz after he got the last seven outs of the season.
First baseman Nathaniel Lowe is eligible for arbitration again, while All-Star third baseman Josh Jung is coming off his rookie season and 21-year-old outfielder Evan Carter made his big league debut in September. The Rangers have a $6.25 million club option for closer Jose Leclerc.
Oddsmakers already expect Texas to be a World Series title contender again next fall. FanDuel Sportsbook on Thursday listed the Rangers and Houston, the AL West nemesis they beat in the ALCS, with the same odds to win it all. The only teams with better odds were Atlanta and the Los Angeles Dodgers — both 100-win teams that didn’t make it out of the NL division round.
Bochy said general manager Chris Young, one of his former pitchers, and owner Ray Davis did everything they said they would when they got him back in a big league dugout after three seasons away. Bochy signed a three-year contract.
“They we’re determined to get winning baseball back to the Texas Rangers,” Bochy said. “They went out and got starting pitching, improved the club. We had young talent coming up. I knew this was a good ballclub."
Eovaldi, who pitched six scoreless innings to win the World Series clincher and became the first starter with five wins in a single postseason, has a conditional player option that could extend through the 2025 season. After also winning a World Series with Boston in 2018, he said it was “an incredible moment and incredible feeling” to be part of the Rangers' first title.
The Rangers went into the playoffs with the sixth-highest payroll at $228 million. They got a better return than even bigger spenders like the NL East fourth-place New York Mets and San Diego Padres, who finished 82-80 only after winning their last five games.
New York's trade-deadline selloff included Scherzer to the Rangers, with the Mets responsible for most of the 39-year-old right-hander's $43.3 million salary next season.
Former Mets star deGrom went to Texas last winter on a $185 million, five-year deal that had a conditional option to add 2028 based on the elbow surgery that limited him to 30 1/3 innings before the end of April, and will keep him out until at least late next season. He was 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts as the Rangers won all six games he started.
Had they lost more than two of deGrom's starts, they would have missed the playoffs.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb