The Rangers are spending so much money on free agents
And it all feels so familiar.
The cellar-dwelling Rangers decided to throw barrels of money at a free-agent superstar shortstop in hopes of building a winning ballclub.
The total was so massive it made you stop and gasp.
The Corey Seager signing (reportedly 10 years, $325 million) followed deals with second baseman Marcus Semien (seven years, $175 million) and pitcher Jon Gray (four years, $56 million).
Which is so. Much. Money.
Half a billion dollars on three guys.
It's the most money ever plunked down in one free-agent period in MLB history, behind the $471 million the Yankees spent in 2013 on a free-agent haul that included Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.
As a Rangers fan, it's heartening that my team is spending to bring in quality players. GM Chris Young has promised to make a big splash this off-season, and he delivered.
Seager is a proven winner, the MVP of last year's World Series and at 27, right in the prime of his career.
Semien is coming off a career year in which he smashed 45 home runs, a record for second basemen.
Gray is 53-49 for his career and enjoys ghost-hunting.
Projecting what these players might accomplish for Texas, and the ghosts of October they could exorcize together, is a fun mental exercise. But at the same time, free-agent spending alone isn't an indication of future success.
Here's how the teams that paid the most in free-agent signings since 2006 performed the following season:
Of those teams, only the Yankees in 2008 won a championship the following season, and a handful saw their free-agent hauls contribute to pennants or championships in the years that followed. Some of these teams quickly regretted their signings and sank in the standings.
Free agency is just one tool to build a winning team. A good farm system, smart draft picks, and proper player development are also required.
In baseball, you can't buy your way to success the same way you can in basketball or even football. But big spending comes with big expectations — expectations to win now. Or soon.
While the money the Rangers are throwing around is a little concerning, the franchise is in a much different place now than it was in 2000 when the team signed Alex Rodriguez and paired him with an aging roster and patchwork pitching staff.
For one, there's legitimate talent on the farm, led by 2021 draft pick Jack Leiter, who has a pretty good pedigree, along with fellow prospects like third baseman Josh Jung, pitcher Cole Winn, and catcher Sam Huff. "There's hope for the future because they may have more legitimate prospect depth than any other organization," according to MLB Pipeline farm system rankings from August.
Texas has a few talented holdovers, too, such as Adolis Garcia, who smashed 31 home runs in 2021 and was electric in the outfield.
And the No. 3 pick in next year’s draft.
After five straight losing seasons, there are signs of hope again for the Rangers.
Of course, the team still needs more pitching (the Rangers always need more pitching). But luckily, there are still some arms on the market. Including Clayton Kershaw, who's played with Seager on the Dodgers ...
Who happens to hail from Dallas ...
The Rangers could really send a statement this off-season by peeling away a Texas-born flamethrower who's well on his way to Cooperstown. Nolan 2.0? Now that would be something to get excited about.