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Rangers 'Sleeper' For deGrom, Verlander

Former Rangers infielder Billy Ripken said Texas could be an unexpected destination for two top free-agent pitchers.

A former Rangers infielder believes Texas is a sleeper destination for two of the game’s top pitching free agents this offseason.

Billy Ripken, who for the Rangers from 1993-94 and is the brother of Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr., made those remarks during an appearance on the MLB Network.

Ripken believes that the Rangers are in the running for New York Mets free agent Jacob deGrom and Houston Astros free agent Justin Verlander.

To do it, the Rangers would have to spend significant money. But the Rangers showed they were willing to do that last year.

“It makes sense. No one — I didn’t — see (Corey) Seager and (Marcus) Semien going to Texas last year,” Ripken said. “They spent a boatload of money.”

Ripken also made the point that new manager Bruce Bochy, who only signed a three-year deal, isn’t “going there to finish 71-91.”

“Somebody sold him on going to Texas and managing this team, and at some point he’s going to go, ‘What did you sell me on?’” Ripken said.

Naturally, that was Ripken’s opinion. But signing both would fall in line with what the Rangers are hoping to do this offseason.

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The Rangers have three veteran starters for 2023 — Martín Pérez (signed to a $19.65 million qualifying offer), Jon Gray and Jake Odorizzi. The Rangers are interested in at least one more veteran starter.

deGrom and Verlander would give the Rangers a complete rotation and would come at a high cost. The New York Post believes deGrom could get more than $40 million per year on the open market. Verlander wanted a three-year, $130 million deal from the Astros, according to team owner Jim Crane.

Age is the biggest question around both pitchers.

deGrom is about to turn 35 and has made 15 starts or fewer in each of the three seasons — 12 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, 15 in 2021 and 11 in 2022. He was still an All-Star in 2021. Elbow inflammation ended his 2021 shortly after the All-Star Break, while a stress reaction in his right scapula delayed his 2022 debut to August. He ended up going 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA.

Before that, deGrom was durable, winning two straight Cy Young awards in 2018 and 2019. He led the National League in ERA at 1.70 in 2018 and led the NL in strikeouts with 2055 in 2019 and 104 in 2020. He was also the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year.

Verlander is 39 but is coming off, perhaps, the best season of his career in helping the Astros win the World Series. After missing the 2020 and 2021 seasons with injuries, he returned to finish 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and win his third Cy Young award. He hits the market with 244 career wins.


You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

Catch up with Inside the Rangers on Facebook and Twitter.

Rangers 'Sleeper' For deGrom, Verlander

Former Rangers infielder Billy Ripken said Texas could be an unexpected destination for two top free-agent pitchers.

A former Rangers infielder believes Texas is a sleeper destination for two of the game’s top pitching free agents this offseason.

Billy Ripken, who for the Rangers from 1993-94 and is the brother of Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr., made those remarks during an appearance on the MLB Network.

Ripken believes that the Rangers are in the running for New York Mets free agent Jacob deGrom and Houston Astros free agent Justin Verlander.

To do it, the Rangers would have to spend significant money. But the Rangers showed they were willing to do that last year.

“It makes sense. No one — I didn’t — see (Corey) Seager and (Marcus) Semien going to Texas last year,” Ripken said. “They spent a boatload of money.”

Ripken also made the point that new manager Bruce Bochy, who only signed a three-year deal, isn’t “going there to finish 71-91.”

“Somebody sold him on going to Texas and managing this team, and at some point he’s going to go, ‘What did you sell me on?’” Ripken said.

Naturally, that was Ripken’s opinion. But signing both would fall in line with what the Rangers are hoping to do this offseason.

The Rangers have three veteran starters for 2023 — Martín Pérez (signed to a $19.65 million qualifying offer), Jon Gray and Jake Odorizzi. The Rangers are interested in at least one more veteran starter.

deGrom and Verlander would give the Rangers a complete rotation and would come at a high cost. The New York Post believes deGrom could get more than $40 million per year on the open market. Verlander wanted a three-year, $130 million deal from the Astros, according to team owner Jim Crane.

Age is the biggest question around both pitchers.

deGrom is about to turn 35 and has made 15 starts or fewer in each of the three seasons — 12 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, 15 in 2021 and 11 in 2022. He was still an All-Star in 2021. Elbow inflammation ended his 2021 shortly after the All-Star Break, while a stress reaction in his right scapula delayed his 2022 debut to August. He ended up going 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA.

Before that, deGrom was durable, winning two straight Cy Young awards in 2018 and 2019. He led the National League in ERA at 1.70 in 2018 and led the NL in strikeouts with 2055 in 2019 and 104 in 2020. He was also the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year.

Verlander is 39 but is coming off, perhaps, the best season of his career in helping the Astros win the World Series. After missing the 2020 and 2021 seasons with injuries, he returned to finish 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and win his third Cy Young award. He hits the market with 244 career wins.


You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

Catch up with Inside the Rangers on Facebook and Twitter.