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Let’s start a new regular feature where we take a closer look at a few recent events in Major League Baseball. This week, we’ll look at the Texas Rangers’ new starting rotation, the San Francisco Giants’ contract-type additions to add depth, and the Cleveland Cavaliers finally breaking their rules by acquiring offensive upgrades.
Rangers remake, dangerous rotation
None of Texas’ projected starters were in their organization before November 2021. Their long-term starters are Martin Perez, then John Gray, then Jake Odorizzi, then Jacob deGrom, then Andrew Heaney. Obviously, none of them are domesticated. Nor did the Rangers follow a formula to get each of them.
For $185 million, they simply outbid everyone and hired Degore. Heine was recruited from close range, as he is from Oklahoma and is a close team to his Oklahoma City home. Perez secured after the 2022 deadline, Odorizzi in a discount trade and Gray in a qualifying offer as part of their spending plan before last year’s lockout.
What the signing of Jacob deGrom means for the Rangers moving forward.
Ben Verlander and Alex Curry discuss the five-year, $185 million deal that tight end Jacob deGrom signed with the Texans.
Dane Dunning will probably get some starts. They acquired him 24 months ago in the Lance Lynn trade with the White Sox. The former first-round pick was deployed as a middle-of-the-pack starter after arriving at Texas, but at least he was deployed. That’s the biggest problem for most Ranger newbies. Gray is probably their safe bet to pitch at least 100 productive innings in 2023.
With deGrom and Heaney in particular, the Rangers have selected high-risk, high-reward rotation candidates. Heaney, 31, has made 25 or more starts once in his career. deGrom, 34, has done it four times, but not since 2019. Last year, the two combined for 25 starts – with a 3.09 ERA. That’s Ross Stripling’s current season right now, and he signed the same two-year, $25-million deal as Heaney. Year, the Rangers are clearly overpaid.
In free agency, the story goes, teams have to buy past production. Texas didn’t do that this year. Instead, the Rangers rely on their own calculations of what the distant past might mean for the new pitchers’ future. This is not a safe bet, but it is not impossible to imagine that it will be fruitful. deGrom can win the Cy Young with 25 starts to his name.
Either way, it will be fun to watch.
Similarity of the Giants’ starting signing
San Francisco recently signed two veteran starting pitchers, Stripling and Sean Mannea, to $25 million contracts that feature opting out after the first year. hander, was once a hot-shot prospect and Stripling, a right-hander, was never at such a level. However, by outperforming Manaya last season, Stripling has more than doubled his career earnings over the next two years.
Not to be forgotten, the Giants re-signed Alex Wood to the same deal last summer.
One interesting element in this year’s massive deals: Both include $5 million signing bonuses. Obviously, immediate bonuses are good, but the action of these bonuses is about faster than you think. Half of them are expected soon; The other half is due next summer. The real deal is that players pay when they live at home, and many states’ income tax rates are much lower than California’s.
Stripling, for example, lives in Texas, where there is no state income tax. Compared to California’s 12.3% state rate, as well as 1.5% for non-residents working in San Francisco, working in Texas could save Stripling hundreds of thousands of dollars on that $5 million.
Such a swing, in fact, saved him even more. Before the 2020 season, Stripling signed a $2.1 million contract with the Dodgers to avoid arbitration. Of that, only $600,000 was wages. The remaining $1.5 million was a signing bonus for the same tax-saving purpose. And when the pandemic hit, the bonus had the added benefit of earning Stripling a higher percentage of his 2020 salary than almost any of his peers. While everyone else received only 37% of their salary, Stripling essentially earned 82%.
Since last season, the Padres have listed Manea’s residence as San Francisco, but he’s from Indiana, a state with much lower income taxes than California.
The two signings give the Giants six established starters. Home grown Logan Webb is currently inducted as AC. That depth also lessens their chances of dealing with Carlos Rodon — their recent deal with Carlos Correa, of course.
The guards are different.
Cleveland rode an unusual offense to the playoffs a year ago. During the rebuild for 2023, the Rangers front office opted to add one more contact-seeking power flasher, and one hitter who, ultimately, didn’t fit the contact profile at all.
First baseman Josh Bell is the former, catcher Mike Zunino is the latter. Zunino alone won’t transform Cleveland’s lineup from contact-oriented to strikeout-heavy, but he will at least add some balance. One of the sport’s most successful front offices is a completely rational bet. Difference does not weaken the strength of the guardians; They should be allowed to succeed only in slightly different ways.
Last year, they tried to do so with designated hitter Frank Reyes, one of the few major leaguers over Bell. But Reyes lost And He didn’t hit for power, and Cleveland cut him a week after the trade deadline. Bell suffered a similar power drought after his deadline trade to San Diego. But he continued to get on base at an above-average rate. It offers more upside and downside than Cleveland has at home.
For that privilege, the Rangers will pay Bell more than any other player in 2023 — more than Jose Ramirez.
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Pedro Mora is a national baseball writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered Dodgers athletics, the Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Register and LA Times, and the alumnus USC for ESPN Los Angeles. He is the author of “How to Win a Broken Game.” Follow him on Twitter @pedromoura.
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