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Major League Baseball's offseason is in full swing, and things figure to get even more frantic with the Winter Meetings just around the bend. So before it's too late, let's get out in front of the forthcoming deluge of signings and trades and tell certain notable teams how they should be conducting their business. 

This time up, it's the reigning-champion Texas Rangers and general manager Chris Young, who will nod dismissively when confronted with our unsolicited advice. In each instance, we strive to be realistic in addressing each team and operate under the awareness that teams can't force players to sign with them or force other teams to trade with them. So consider these to be "politely recommended hypotheticals" as opposed to "unyielding marching orders." 

Anyhow, assume the position, Rangers, and be crushed under the weight of our counsel. Do these things now. 

1. Go for Shohei Ohtani

The Rangers are quite obviously both, a, willing spenders and, b, in win-now mode. As well, they have a vacancy at DH given that incumbent Mitch Garver is a free agent. Ohtani is likely going to command the largest contract in MLB history, but, again, the Rangers have demonstrated a willingness to pay the going rates for superstars. Adding Ohtani's best-in-class power bat to an already relentless lineup – one that includes the likes of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Adolis García, and Evan Carter would, without exaggeration, give the 2024 Rangers a shot at having one of the best offenses of all-time. Ohtani's return to the mound in 2025 once he's recovered from his elbow procedure would fit nicely with the Rangers' rotation needs. That's because Max Scherzer and Andrew Heaney are both slated for free agency after the 2024 season. 

As for Ohtani, he's cited winning as a key motivator for selecting his next team, and the Rangers can of course point to the recently acquired World Series trophy as evidence of their capacities on this front. On the other side of that, if you're the Rangers, then there's no better way to keep up fan enthusiasm even after the ultimate goal has been reached than by signing the best and most popular baseball player in the world. 

Obviously, the competition for Ohtani's services will be intense with teams like the Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, and Giants all having plausible designs on him, but the Rangers check all the necessary boxes. They should be all-in on his pursuit. 

2. Address the bullpen

Broadly speaking, the Rangers wound up winning the belt and the title despite and not because of their relief corps. During the 2023 season, the Rangers ranked 24th in MLB in bullpen ERA and 22nd in bullpen FIP (What's this?). While adding Aroldis Chapman and Chris Stratton leading up the trade deadline helped matters somewhat it didn't do so to any great extent. During their playoff run to the title, manager Bruce Bochy leaned heavily upon José Leclerc and Josh Sborz in part because no one else seemed especially reliable. They'll need improvements for 2024. 

Speaking of which, the Rangers should be in on free-agent closer Josh Hader, who got back to something close to peak dominance in 2023 for the Padres. Jordan Hicks is another hard-throwing possibility. He found a higher level after making some mid-season adjustments with the Cardinals, and the Rangers discussed including him in the Jordan Montgomery trade leading up to the deadline. Even if the Rangers land on some internal solutions for the bullpen moving forward, a high-leverage arm from outside the organization is probably going to be a necessary move for them. 

3. Bring back Jordan Montgomery 

Even with a powerhouse offense that figures to provide plenty of cushion, Texas will probably need to fortify the rotation. Fallen ace Jacob deGrom figures to return from Tommy John surgery by August, but the bulk of the season will have passed by then. As well, Martín Pérez is presently a free agent. Even if they bring back Pérez, though, he'd likely fill a swingman role, which means they still need a solid presence in the rotation. Considering that Nathan Eovaldi will always be a bit of an injury risk, it's even more necessary. 

That brings us to Montgomery, who as mentioned came Rangers-ward in a deadline deal with St. Louis. He was a highly valuable starter both before and after the swap, as he pitched to a 3.20 ERA with a 3.46 K/BB ratio across 188 2/3 innings, and for his career Monty boasts an ERA+ of 116 across parts of seven big-league seasons. He was a key member of the Rangers' playoff rotation, and the success he and the team enjoyed during that run lays the foundation for a return. Montgomery, because he was traded in-season, was ineligible for the qualifying offer, so there's no loss of a draft pick involved if the Rangers sign him. He's not at the tip-top of the free-agent class of starting pitchers, but he's in the very next tier and is an ideal fit back in Texas.