Wow, what a difference an off-season makes. And a new general manager.
Last year, after a 102-loss campaign, the Rangers went into the 2022 season with this rotation:
Jon Gray, Dane Dunning, Spencer Howard, Taylor Hearn, and Martín Pérez. Yes, Martín Pérez was the fifth starter. Worse, Jon Gray was the “ace.” Is it any wonder they finished fourth? That is a terrible rotation.
Yesterday, the Rangers got further away from the Spencer Howardization of their rotation with the announcement that they signed free agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.
The thirty-two-year-old right hander pitched the last five seasons for the Red Sox, four of those with an ERA under 3.90. He made the All-Star team in 2021 and was the hero of the 2018 World Series by being the winning pitcher in that epic eighteen-inning Game 3.
Eovaldi isn’t an ace. But the Rangers have one of those. What Eovaldi is, though, is a quality starting pitcher you can count on. When he takes the mound, you can reasonably expect your team to have a chance. You cannot say that with the clown parade the Rangers have run out there in the past.
The Rangers rotation now has four new faces in Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney and Jake Odorrizi. That’s in addition to Martín Pérez and Jon Gray.
This is the best rotation the Rangers have ever had.
Leave it to a general manager who is a former pitcher to finally finally finally finally finally put emphasis on quality starters and not bargain bin reclamation projects that the former guy ran out there year after year after year.
Yes, there are fans of Jon Daniels who will defend him by bringing up the quality pitchers he did sign. Like, Martín Pérez (who nobody in the entire world could have predicted), Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Andrew Cashner. Yes, those were certainly success stories, and certainly worth giving him credit for.
But those few names are counterbalanced with this list (not complete) of abysmal failures: Vicente Padilla, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, Roy Oswalt, Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Jerome Williams, Wandy Rodriguez, A.J. Griffin, Kyle Lohse, Tyson Ross, Miguel Gonzalez, Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon, Doug Fister, Matt Moore (the starter), Drew Smyly, Shelby Miller, Edinson Volquez, Jordan Lyles, Mike Foltynewicz, Kohei Arihara, Spencer Howard, and Dallas Keuchel.
Yes, what a difference an off-season makes. And a new general manager.