After a relatively quick and uneventful World Series, the Texas Rangers were crowned champions last night over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Corey Seager won an impressive 2nd World Series MVP, and the pitching and offense did their jobs in a 5-0 win.
However, this win was not especially surprising, as the Diamondbacks were an 84 win team that beat the odds to make it to the World Series in the first place. Their pitching was extremely gassed, and they didn’t stand much of a chance.
The real difficulty for the Rangers was taking out the 101-win Orioles and their division rival Houston Astros in the previous two series, establishing themselves as the team to beat in the WS.
Ultimately though, I don’t want to talk too much about the games, but instead how the Rangers built a team that lost 100 games just two years ago into a champion. They did this through aggressiveness in signings and on the trade market, leaning into an established manager, and promoting top prospects. These are things that teams should be doing to be less conservative and more aggressive in the modern game.
The first reason for the Rangers season this season has to start with their massive spending, which began before the start of the 2022 season. Completely stripped of talent and opening a new ballpark, the Rangers gave out two big contracts.
A 10 year, 325 million dollar deal to shortstop Corey Seager, and a 7 year 175 million dollar contract to second baseman Marcus Semien. This gave them one of the best middle infields in the league, and something to build around moving forward. These guys didn’t lead to a lot of wins in 2022, but they built the foundation of this team.
They didn’t stop signing guys however, and in fact continued it before this off season. They gave out a risky 5 year 185 million dollar deal to oft-injured pitcher Jacob DeGrom, as well as long term contracts for starters Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney.
A lot of these moves were scoffed at, or told that they wouldn’t work out, but the Rangers believed in their organization and decided to follow through with it. DeGrom did end up getting injured this year, and Heaney wasn’t as good as he was with the Dodgers last year, but these signings still helped them on their way to the crown.
Relentless Pitching Acquisitions
One of the reasons the Rangers were able to capitalize on their good signings and overcome their bad signings is because of their decision to relentlessly acquire pitching depth. Despite signing almost an entire starting rotation in free agency, they were not afraid to make moves at the deadline when pitchers got injured.
Trading for Jordan Mongtomery, Max Scherzer, and Aroldis Chapman were all risky moves that had downside, with some of these players being known for blowups in recent years. However, they all ended up contributing to the championship, with Montgomery being the ace and Chapman being a key bullpen arm.
They also signed Will Smith, who came up huge for them in the playoffs. Their ability to not back down and just keep acquiring guys meant they were never out of it.
What this Means
Ultimately, the lesson that I draw from this championship is that teams should not be afraid to be aggressive. In an era where analytics point towards letting things play out long term, there is nothing wrong with pushing your chips to the middle of the table.
These analytics are correct for long term success, but each postseason is two to three weeks of baseball. If certain small market teams or even franchises like the Yankees were willing to make moves like the Rangers did, they would be far better for it.