It's only been a few days since the Texas Rangers won their first World Series in franchise history, but it's already time to start getting ready for next year.
That includes deciding what to do with several free agents who just helped raise a banner. Which ones deserve to come back and which ones can we part ways with?
On Saturday, the Rangers made decisions on a pair of key pitchers.
Rangers Offseason News
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that pitchers Andrew Heaney and Jose Leclerc will both be back with Texas next year. Heaney exercised his $13 million player option for 2024, while the Rangers picked up Leclerc's $6.25 million team option for 2024 as well.
Neither decision is too surprising, Heaney could have declined his option and tested free agency, but he probably would have settled for a one-year deal in the $10 million range anyways given his age (32), track record and injury history. Last year was only the second season of his 10-year career with over 130 innings, and he's more of a back-end starter based on his 4.15 ERA, 4.66 FIP and 1.38 WHIP.
As for Leclerc, picking up his option was a no-brainer. He stepped up as the team's closer in October, racking up 4 saves and finishing his first postseason with a 3.29 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
Heaney will likely rejoin the rotation after getting moved to the bullpen down the stretch, as Jordan Montgomery and Martin Perez are both likely to sign elsewhere in free agency. Leclerc will continue to serve as a late-game weapon for Bruce Bochy and should have the ninth-inning role all to himself.
With both players locked in at reasonable salaries, Texas could now budget and plan accordingly for addressing the rest of its pitching staff in the offseason.
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