It was already likely to be true, of course, but once the Texas Rangers announced that Bruce Bochy hire yesterday I knew for sure it was true: they’re gonna spend big again this offseason.
And, at least with respect to one of the top free agent pitchers, the Rangers are sure enough going to be on him. From The Athletic (emphasis mine):
The Rangers spent $556 million on shortstop Corey Seager, second baseman Marcus Semien and righty starter Jon Gray last winter but are expected to be just as aggressive this winter. I’ve heard from a source familiar with the club’s thinking that they expect to make a hard push for left-hander Carlos Rodón. They already made sense as a free-agent alternative for Brandon Belt, given both their extreme lack of left-handed DH production last season and the Rangers’ proximity to his home in Lufkin, Texas. Now with Bochy on board, those are the simplest two dots to connect. Might the Rangers even entertain trading for an unhappy Madison Bumgarner, whom the Arizona Diamondbacks are desperate to unload?
It seems notable that, in a list of a few possible names to be targeted, in a section about the Rangers being aggressive again, Rodon is name-checked in that way. It gives off the vibe of him being their top starting pitching target, and as we saw last year with Seager and Semien, the Rangers are not afraid to get a little irrational right now.
The Cubs, by contrast, have been connected to Rodon this offseason, but I have a harder time seeing them get irrational (even if I, personally, think that’s kind of what you have to do if you want to actually land an ace in free agency – you have to be willing to take the financial risk, and probably accept some injury risk). So I suppose my point in sharing this report is that it’ll suck if the Rangers do go aggressively after Rodon, to the extent they did last year with Seager and Semien (and to a lesser extent Jon Gray), and more or less take him off the reasonable market for a team like the Cubs. I want the Cubs to be aggressive, yes, but there does have to be a line at some point.