The Rangers were in on free agent Anthony Rendon to the tune of $32MM per year for six years, per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman. The total 6-year, $192MM package landed a year and $53MM short of the winning bid. Heyman points out that the lack of an income tax in Texas put the dollar value of the Rangers’ offer more-or-less in-line with the contract Rendon ultimately signed. The extra year made the difference for both player and team in this case. Rendon will turn 37-years-old in June of his seventh contract year with the Angels.
Though they’ve yet to land a big bat (and reportedly will not push to sign Josh Donaldson), the Rangers have made strides to improve their rotation with the additions of Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. While reliable rotation arms don’t equate to a star signing like Rendon, for the Rangers, they are critical additions. Of course, part of this gambit assumes Lyles pitches more like he did in Milwaukee (2.45 ERA) and less like he did in Pittsburgh (5.36 ERA).
The sky is the ceiling when pitchers switch teams nowadays, however, as the reworking of arsenals and usage patterns has rapidly become the norm. For Lyles, much of the improvement his experienced in Milwaukee can be attributed to moving from a sinker to a four-seamer and swapping out a slider for a curveball, per Evan Grant of the Dallas News. The Rangers also see Lyles as a sort of developmental descendent of Lance Lynn, who made a similar switch to a four-seamer in Texas. The Rangers believe Lynn will be a positive influence for Lyles as he tries to perform with more consistency.
For his part, Lyles credits the urgency of a playoff push and his chemistry with catcher Yasmani Grandal as a driving factor of his late-season success. The Rangers’ catching situation is far from settled, with Jeff Mathis the closest defensive equivalent to Grandal in terms of pedigree. It will be an uphill battle for the Rangers’ to put themselves in the playoff race, though Gibson and Lyles raising the floor of the rotation goes a long way to fixing the issues of 2019. Still, the Astros, A’s, and Angels are all pushing for contention, while the Mariners are gearing up for a push in 2021.