Commenting on the upcoming Rangers season, Steve Phillips of MLB Network Radio said, “If Jacob deGrom is healthy, the Rangers squeak into that third wild card slot. If deGrom isn’t, the Rangers have no chance.”
That seems to be the consensus among people who get paid to talk about these things.
I disagree. This Rangers team is better than a one-man band. The rotation is deeper than it’s ever been. Quality one through five. Jon Gray was supposed to be the ace last year. That’s when you know you have a paper thin rotation. As a number five starter, perfect.
Gone are the litany of knuckleheads and bargain barrel arms that no person of sound mind would have ever thought a team could win with. Yes, the Rangers would like deGrom to be healthy and deliver more than twenty starts in 2023.
But they don’t need that to contend. If this was past rotations, and he was the lone wolf in a pack of scavengers, as the Rangers have had too often, then I would say, yes, deGrom’s health was the only Rangers chance.
But good rotations are build on depth, one through five. Then Rangers have that. Beyond the top five, not so much. Guys like Dane Dunning and Glenn Otto and Cole Ragans and Taylor Hearn have proven time and again they are not quality starters. Jake Odorizzi, who would normally be in line to be a sixth starter if need be hasn’t thrown a pitch yet.
That would leave Spencer Howard as the Rangers tenth starter. That’s probably too high in the rotation for him. The fact he was actually in the rotation at one point speaks volumes to how much better this Rangers rotation is.
So, with all due respect to guys like Steve Phillips, this Rangers team is not a fourth-place team. It’s not a one-man team. It’s a pretty good team that should surprise a lot of people. And it’s actually surprising to have to say that.
Texas @ Oakland, 2:05