Texas Rangers: What’s on their post-lockout to-do list

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: A Texas Rangers batting helmet in the dugout before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 24, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Rangers defeated the Yankees 8-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: A Texas Rangers batting helmet in the dugout before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 24, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Rangers defeated the Yankees 8-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 15: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on August 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Reds defeated the Phillies 7-4. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 15: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on August 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Reds defeated the Phillies 7-4. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers should look to add more starting pitching

The Texas Rangers could keep the pedal to the metal and acquire Sonny Gray. Should they? Absolutely.

Gray, 32, has spent the past three seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Reds rotation. The Reds acquired him from the Yankees after an uncharacteristically rough stretch for the righty. Gray immediately made his second career All-Star appearance in 2019 as a member of the Reds, finishing seventh in the NL Cy Young voting. Gray has the stuff to be a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher or even a staff ace and has relatively quietly put up solid numbers in Cincy since he joined the club.

The Reds dangled Sonny Gray on the trade market in the 2020-21 offseason and, to a lesser degree, at the 2021 trade deadline. Needless to say, a deal did not come to fruition. After his 3.3 WAR performance this past year, it is very possible, maybe even likely, that they will do the same this offseason and look to pull the trigger for real this time.

In 2022, Gray is set to earn $10.4 million and has a $12 million club option for 2023, a deal that would be a no-brainer for a club if he performs as well as he has in recent years.

As things currently stand, the Rangers have Dane Dunning, Taylor Hearn, A.J. Alexy, and Spencer Howard penciled into the rotation behind newly-acquired ace Jon Gray. Dunning and Hearn both pitched over 100 innings for the club last year with respectable results and should have their spots secured heading into 2022. Alexy and Howard, however, are still both inexperienced and young. Most enticing about the two of them, though, is the fact that they also have two minor-league options remaining (as do Dunning and Hearn, but neither will be sent down unless there’s a major meltdown on the mound), so they can be freely sent down to the club’s Triple-A affiliate if necessary.

Sonny Gray would fit in nicely behind his fellow Gray, Jon. The Rangers should keep their strong offseason going and look to swing a deal for the two-time All Star.