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Hot Stove Notes: Rangers Connected To Multiple Big-Name Free Agents

Major League Baseball free agency doesn't begin for another two and a half weeks, but the Texas Rangers are already tied to multiple big-ticket names.

DALLAS — It won't be long now. The *if necessary* Game 7 of the World Series is scheduled for Nov. 3. Free agency starts five days afterwards. If you check your calendars, that means the offseason bidding war for a deep class of free agents begins in 18 days or less.

Over the past few winters, this meant very little for fans of the Texas Rangers. Since the 2017-18 offseason, the Rangers have been bargain shoppers, and in all honesty, fared quite nicely (Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson and Hunter Pence are a few good examples).

Things, however, are different this winter. The Rangers are no longer in "tear-down mode". Ownership is now prepared to loosen the pursestrings so president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and general manager Chris Young can add some top-tier talent as the farm begins to produce some exciting players over the next few seasons.

And though free agency doesn't begin for another two and a half weeks, the hot stove is already on, especially regarding the Rangers and their plans. The timing is not surprising since the Rangers just concluded their pro scout meetings in Arizona this week, where they drew up blueprints for how to attack the offseason.

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After Spending Over Half a Billion Dollars, Do The Rangers Have an Encore?

It's been an offseason like none other in baseball history, and the Texas Rangers still may not be done.

The Rangers have been tied to a few big-name free agents already by a number of different reporters and publications. Here's a rundown of which players are connected to the Rangers:

  • One source tells InsideTheRangers.com that of the shortstops that highlight this winter's free agent class, Rangers manager Chris Woodward covets Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. Of course, that shouldn't come to any surprise considering Woodward's time as the Dodgers third base coach. The Rangers skipper has first-hand experience with who Seager is on the field, off the field and in the clubhouse.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney also notes Woodward's ties to Seager as a factor in the Rangers' pursuit of quintet of shortstops; that rival evaluators are "keenly aware" of their relationship. Olney also writes that some rival evaluators speculate the Rangers could "double-dip" in the shortstop market, requiring one to switch positions. Seager is considered the best offensive shortstop on the market, but may require a position change if he signs a massive deal.
  • Staying on the shortstop train, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand ranks the most likely suitors for Colorado's Trevor Story, and the Rangers are listed at No. 2 behind the incumbent Rockies. Story is a Dallas-Fort Worth native, and his ties to the Metroplex have put his name in the same sentence as the Rangers for several months now. The Rangers' interest in Story was considerable prior to the 2021 season, and the coming weeks will tell us how much said interest has risen or fallen.
  • MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday that though the Dodgers are favored to retain Clayton Kershaw, the Rangers are seen as favorites to sign him if he opts to go elsewhere. Kershaw, now 33 years old, is on the back-nine of his career and is not the most dominant pitcher in baseball like he used to be for so long. However, his performance is still plenty good enough to pitch atop a young Rangers rotation. In addition, he would fit the organization's efforts to improve its culture.

On The Farm...

In addition to free agent news and rumors, more good news has come from the Rangers farm system this week. Owen White, the club's second-round pick in 2018, was named Pitcher of the Week in the Arizona Fall League's first week of play. White tossed five shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out five of the 19 batters he faced.

The Rangers No. 29 prospect on MLB Pipeline is coming off a successful performance in his first professional season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2019. In eight starts with Low-A Down East, White went 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 33 1/3 innings. He also struck out 54 batters and only walked 12.


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