The Texas Rangers are one of the few teams in baseball that has been ready to spend as aggressively in free agency as the Philadelphia Phillies in recent years, and they have no reason to forsake that plan now that it has placed them on a parade float.
In fact, many unknown general managers told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that the defending World Series champion Rangers will sign free agent Aaron Nola. “Bringing Jordan Montgomery back makes the most sense, but certainly Nola and his durability is quite attractive to the Rangers’ rotation, with several GMs predicting Nola will end up in Texas.”
The Rangers’ interest in Nola really makes a lot of sense. With 1,065 1/3 innings pitched since the start of the 2018 season, Nola is second only to Gerrit Cole. With as many excellent starters as the Rangers presently have on their roster, manager Bruce Bochy would undoubtedly prefer to have someone as consistent as Nola lead his rotation.
Nathan Eovaldi, the postseason hero, has only made more than 30 starts once in his career, and the 34-year-old is approaching his contract year. Max Scherzer, 39, is still extremely successful on the mound, but he’s been plagued by injuries in recent seasons and will be pitching in a walk year in 2023.
Also, twice Jacob deGrom, the National League Cy Young Award winner, suffered his second career Tommy John surgery in June 2023, which cost him the remainder of the season and might keep him out for the rest of 2024. DeGrom is under contract until 2027, but he last made more than 30 starts in 2019.
It would be an amusing turn of events if Nola ended up playing with both deGrom and Scherzer. Nola’s greatest season came in 2018, when he finished 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA and 3.01 FIP over 212 1/3 innings thrown. In 2018, Nola finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting, trailing only deGrom and Scherzer, who were then pitching for the New York Mets and Washington Nationals, respectively.