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All-Time Texas Ranger Signing No. 4 & 3
John Wetteland began his MLB career as a starter. After struggling and bouncing around the league, Wetteland finally found himself in the early 90’s as a closer with Montreal. After establishing himself as one of most dominant relievers in the game, he was traded to the Yankees in the Spring of ’95. Wetteland would go on to win a title with New York in ’96.
Due to the emergence of young fireballer Mariano Rivera, the Yankees would let Wetteland walk in free agency after the ’96 season. The Rangers picked him up on a 4-year, $23 million deal.
The veteran would go on to be outstanding for Texas over the next 4 years, locking down the 9th inning for the division-champion Rangers of ’98 and ’99.
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Rangers fans saw the closer post a minuscule ERA of 1.94 in his debut season with Texas while recording 31 saves. But even better things were to come. Wetteland would save 42 games during the ’98 season, posting a 2.03 ERA, and earning an all-star nod. He even gathered some down-ballot MVP votes. ’99 was much of the same as the righty finished 6th in AL Cy Young voting.
Wetteland would retire after the 4-year deal with Texas expired at the age of 33. He is the all-time saves leader for the franchise with 150. In 2005, Wetteland was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame.
No. 3: Vladimir Guerrero
Vladimir Guerrero played just one year in a Texas Ranger uniform, but it was a glorious one. The addition of Vlady to the Rangers prior to the 2010 campaign, cemented Texas as the American League’s best.
The Rangers plucked Guerrero from division-rival Anaheim in the Winter of 2010 after being torched by him for the better part of 5 years. It appeared, at the time, the 13-year veteran was declining. That take proved to be anything but true.
Serving as the team’s DH, Vlad would bounce back from his worst year in a big way. In his one year with the Rangers, Guerrero blasted 29 home runs while knocking in 115 runs. He was awarded with a Silver Slugger award, earned his 9th career all-star nod, and turned in some MVP votes.
The Vladimir Guerrero-era was a short one in Texas. But, Vlad hit clean up for one of baseball’s most potent offenses. You can’t tell the story of the 2010 pennant-winning Rangers without his name.