Major League Baseball’s hot stove has been piping hot over the past several days and an unlikely team commanding the headlines is the Texas Rangers.
Texas, an apparent sleeping giant, has signed superstars Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to contracts totaling $500 million, nearly equaling what the New York Yankees spent for 10 players during the 2013 offseason.
Semien, 31, signed a seven-year, $175 million contract on Sunday, coming off a career year where he finished third in AL MVP voting, won his first AL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award, and received First Team All-MLB honors.
He bet on himself before the 2021 season started, signing a one-year, $18 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, and made the most of it, setting a new MLB single-season record for most home runs hit by a second baseman.
Semien’s 7.3 bWAR was also second in the AL behind only Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, and first among AL position players.
Seager, 27, got the ball rolling in what is one of the most loaded shortstop free agent classes in recent memory, signing a 10-year, $325 million deal with Texas on Monday.
His 2021 season was shortened on May 15 when a pitch hit and fractured his right hand, but 96 games played, Seager hit .306/.394/.521 with a 3.7 bWAR, 145 OPS+, 16 home runs and 57 RBI for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The two-time All-Star has posted two consecutive seasons with over a .900 OPS and 140 OPS+, and if you watched the 2020 postseason, you saw just how dangerous Seager could be playing in Texas.
He and the Dodgers played the NLDS, NLCS and World Series all in Globe Life Field and in 14 postseason games, Seager hit .350 with seven home runs and 19 RBI, capturing NLCS MVP and World Series MVP honors in the process.
The Rangers also bolstered its rotation with the addition of right-hander Jon Gray from the Colorado Rockies on a four-year, $56 million deal, and added a solid outfielder in Kole Calhoun from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who signed a one-year, $5.2 million deal.
The impending work stoppage after the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement between the players’ union and owners on Dec. 1 has ignited free agency this offseason, and the Rangers don’t seem like they’ll be stopping anytime soon.