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Sources: Rangers Making Push For Seager, Story

The Texas Rangers committed a lot of money to free agents on Sunday—and they may not be done.

The Texas Rangers broke their silence on the free agent market in a big way on Sunday, committing more than $236 million across three free agent signings. Even after spending more money than they have since they signed Álex Rodríguez to a mega-contract in the 2000-01 offseason, the Rangers still may not be done.

Multiple sources tell SI’s that the Rangers are making a push for Corey Seager and Trevor Story, in hopes of luring one of them to Arlington.

The first free-agent domino fell on Sunday when the Rangers and American League MVP-finalist Marcus Semien agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract. Later, Texas also agreed to terms with Kole Calhoun and Jon Gray—two moves that provide outfield depth and bolster the starting rotation. Adding either Seager or Story would put an emphatic exclamation point on an offseason where the Rangers seek to pivot away from tear-down mode toward building a contender. Either player would be a great fit for Texas, and could play alongside Semien in the middle infield (though the logistics of that may have to be worked out later).

Seager, 27, is the younger of the two, and provides valuable big-game experience coupled with an impact bat for the middle of the lineup. The left-handed slugger has plenty of familiarity with Rangers skipper Chris Woodward, who coached Seager during his three-year tenure as the third base coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016-2018, and newly-hired hitting coach Tim Hyers, who was an assistant hitting coach on that same staff. Sources have previously indicated that Woodward covets Seager more than any other shortstop in this class, even though Semien was the first to sign with Texas.

Story, 29, is a native of Irving, Tx., which is right in the Rangers’ backyard. He’s an elite two-way defender that has plenty of pop in his bat. Sources tell that Story has a desire to play for his hometown team, though the number of years on a contract could be a hurdle in the negotiations. Story is coming off a bit of a down year in 2021, slashing .251/.329/.471/.801—all four marks below his career averages—with 24 home runs and 75 RBI.

Despite either player possibly demanding as much as $30 million per year—and splurging about $45 million of 2022’s payroll on Sunday—the Rangers still have plenty of room in the budget to add either one to their roster. 

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Taking Sunday’s three signings into account, along with their existing contracts, retained salaries and money set aside for their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Rangers roughly have a $95 million payroll for next season. In October, president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said the club's 2022 budget would be "consistent with the market and fan base of this size". Dallas-Fort Worth is a top-five sports market.

The main hurdle for the Rangers is competition on the market. The New York Mets are reportedly close to signing Max Scherzer away from the Dodgers. If they do, it’s possible the Dodgers dial up their pursuit of Seager, and they’ve openly expressed a desire to bring him back to Los Angeles.

If the Rangers prioritize Seager and miss out on him, will Story move on to another suitor?

There is a general consensus among the industry that both Seager and Story will make their decisions this week, maybe even as early as Monday. The impending lockout that is set to begin on Thursday, Dec. 2 is driving the free agent market into a frenzy one week prior to when the Winter Meetings were scheduled to begin.

Buckle up for a hectic few days around the hot stove.

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