The Rangers weren’t able to convince Clayton Kershaw to leave Los Angeles to come to Arlington. So, they did the next best thing.
They plucked Andrew Heaney from the Dodgers. Well, to be fair, the next best pitcher on the Dodgers was not Heaney. He was about sixth best. But, hey, he was a Dodger so maybe he can bring that Dodger magic with him.
The Rangers wooed Heaney in spite of the Red Sox offering him more guaranteed money. Boston offered Heaney more than $30 million for two years, guaranteed. But Heaney chose to sign with Texas for $25 million for two years guaranteed. With incentives, though, his contract could top out at $37 million.
But Heaney has a great relationship with Rangers general manager Chris Young. So he chose Texas.
So, who did the Rangers get?
They got a pitcher who has pitched nine seasons in the major leagues. Eight of them well below mediocre. In eight seasons with the Marlins, Angels, and Yankees, Heaney posted a 32-38 record with a 4.72 ERA. Thoughts of Jordan Lyles come to mind.
Heaney was not coveted by many teams going into the 2022 season. But the Dodgers did what they seem to do so well. They plucked a player out of obscurity and made him into something worthy.
In sixteen starts with LA, Heaney put up an un-Heaney like 3.32 ERA, and an ERA+ of 136, meaning he was 36 percent better than the average pitcher.
He was also injured for quite a bit of the 2022 season. He got in two starts at the beginning of the season. Went on the I.L. Came back in June for one start. Then went back on the I.L.
By the time the trade deadline rolled around, Heaney had pitched just nineteen innings. His ERA was 0.59, though.
He came back from shoulder injury at the end of July and put up great numbers from there on out. The Dodgers won nine of his final thirteen starts. But in those thirteen starts, he went past the fourth inning only four times, and past the fifth only once.
So, while Texas now has its five-man rotation figured out with deGrom, Perez, Gray, Heaney, and Odorizzi, what they also have is a rotation filled with arms that have recently been injured.
They will do themselves a huge favor to get one more bona fide starter who isn’t an injury risk. As Chris Young said while leaving the Winter Meetings, “You can’t have enough pitching.”
The fact is, the Rangers don’t have enough. They have a lot of guys who are going into 2023 on a wing and a prayer and duct tape and hope.
This is the best rotation from top to bottom the Rangers have ever had. If it can stay reasonably healthy.
The only word more dangerous than hope in the language of baseball is if.