Rangers Get Two Major Pieces of Pitching News

The defending World Series champions added to their pitching depth ahead of Opening Day.

Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Six
Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Six / Elsa/GettyImages

The reigning World Series champion Texas Rangers will begin their title defense next week at home against the Chicago Cubs. The Rangers will hand the ball to veteran Nathan Eovaldi as the Opening Day starter, who will also be depended on to lead the starting rotation.

Texas’ starting rotation is slightly different heading into this offseason from the last time we saw them in the World Series in November. There’s no Jordan Montgomery, who was outstanding in the second half of the 2023 season and the postseason.

Rangers fans hoped Montgomery would return in free agency, but that hasn’t come to fruition as the team tried to figure out their RSN situation with Diamond Sports Group. 

Therefore, Texas will be rolling with the starting rotation of Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney, Dane Dunning, and Cody Bradford. It’s not the most talented group, but it should be enough to get the ball rolling for the Rangers as they await the returns of Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, and Tyler Mahle.

While the Rangers try to deal with life without Montgomery, they did make a notable signing on Wednesday night to the pitching staff. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Texas signed free-agent pitcher Michael Lorenzen to a one-year, $4.5 million deal.

Lorenzen was one of the last remaining significant free agents on the market, who sparked interest from various teams looking for pitching depth. The 32-year-old right-handed pitcher made the All-Star team last season with the Detroit Tigers after posting a 5-7 record and 3.58 ERA in 18 starts.

The Tigers ultimately moved Lorenzen at the trade deadline to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he threw a no-hitter but came back down to earth and moved to the bullpen. Lorenzen had a 4-2 record and a 5.51 ERA (11 appearances/7 starts) with the Phillies.

Rangers fans shouldn’t expect Lorenzen to be a part of the rotation after missing out on most of Spring Training. But the veteran right-handed pitcher could be a solid bullpen option as he gets up to speed.

As for Montgomery’s playing future, he’s still a free agent a week out from Opening Day, but there’s one team interested in him. 

MLB insider Jon Heyman reported Wednesday that the New York Yankees are “back in contact” with Montgomery’s camp. However, Heyman adds that “a gap exists,” but they are talking.

Earlier this year, it was rumored that Montgomery could potentially return to the Yankees, but he reportedly didn’t seem too keen about playing in the Big Apple. That said, New York could use the 31-year-old southpaw, especially with ace Gerrit Cole out and the Yankees not having a solidified fifth starter.

With Opening Day only a week away, the time is ticking on Montgomery’s playing status for this year, and his representation will need to make a move quickly.

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