Rangers will be 'active and aggressive' in FA

October 7th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- It’s been over 20 years since the Rangers handed Alex Rodriguez the biggest contract in baseball history at the time, and a decade since Adrián Beltré came to Texas himself in free agency to become the cornerstone of an American League pennant-winning team.

Now, 10 years removed from that pennant and five removed from the playoffs all together, the Rangers seem ready to spend again. With around just $28 million on the books heading into 2022, and even less in ‘23, Texas more than has the ability to do so.

General manager Chris Young and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels emphasized multiple times that the club would be “active and aggressive” in free agency. While Daniels wasn’t able to give an exact dollar amount, he noted it would be consistent with a market and fanbase of this size, and that ownership is willing to support the club financially.

“We're going to be discussing players in every category, every position and every area in the market,” Daniels said. “There's nobody that we're going to rule out because of a perceived price tag.”

“I think that we have needs everywhere,” Young added. “I don't think we're limiting ourselves in terms of ways to upgrade our roster. We're focused and committed to exploring every possible way to improve our big league club and do it in a manner that is still disciplined and consistent with our long term vision here of creating a long-term championship window.”

The 2021 Rangers finished with 102 losses, just the third 100-plus loss season since relocation in 1972 and the first in almost fifty years. For all intents and purposes, the season was a failure, even if that was known to be a possibility. Manager Chris Woodward has said as much.

Off the field, things played out almost as expected.

From last winter through July’s Trade Deadline, the club fully tore down and pushed the rebuild to the forefront by shipping off Lance Lynn to the White Sox, Elvis Andrus to the A’s, Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor to the Yankees and Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy to the Phillies for hauls of prospects. The longest tenured players on the active roster come Aug. 1 were Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino, both of whom made their MLB debut between 2017-18.

The next step falls again on the front office to build up both externally through free agency and internally through player development in order to bring the Rangers back into contention.

Both Young and Daniels noted that it’s not reasonable to believe that the Rangers can add 30 wins in one winter, but they are looking to add players to the Major League roster that will create a core lineup for years into the future.

“We're not looking to solve it with one player to be the finishing piece on a club that obviously struggled this year,” Daniels said. “We're looking for players that can be part of helping to turn this around and really launch us to where we want to go, also that can help our young players develop as they get up here.”

The front office isn’t blind to the challenges that await them this winter. It’s not 2000, and Texas isn’t likely to drop another 10-year, $252 million deal for a shortstop like they did for Rodriguez all those years ago.

But Young’s point stands that the Rangers will look to add in multiple positions, and if that happens to be one of the shortstops in the flooded market, that’s even better.

“I think it's an exciting time to be a Texas Ranger,” Young said. “There's a financial component to every free agency decision, and we have to be competitive in those financial conversations, but beyond that, there are a lot of great things that are happening underneath the surface.

“I know it's tough to say, and 102 losses this season. I look at our farm system and where we are, I look at the culture of the people that we have here. I think players who are willing to understand that and see what the opportunity is, they're going to get excited about that. I think we're going to find the right ones that fit what we're doing.”