Here are my top five take aways from the Rangers victory over the Diamondbacks in the World Series.
1. Only five franchises have not won a world series now
The Rays, Mariners, Brewers, Padres, and Rockies are all that’s left.
2. Former Rays were everywhere
This was written about plenty when the series began, but it was impressive to see former Rays players that were castoffs and trade-aways — like Nate Eovaldi, Ryan Thompson, Evan Longoria, and Jonah Heim — take center stage. I’m sure many franchises feel a sense of familiarity watching the series, but the success of players the Rays chose not to hold onto was interesting to see.
3. Bullpen games are difficult to pull off
The Rays have a bit of a reputation for bullpenning games. Some of that reputation is conflation with the Opener/Bulk strategy, but regardless it’s become part of the Rays Way.
It’s far more common to see bullpen games come around in the playoffs, as starters run out of steam in the long year and teams prioritize shorter appearances by pitchers generally to prevent TTO penalties. But we also watched a bullpen game blow up for AZ during the series that really drove home how difficult it is to bullpen your way through nine innings.
Sort of surprised at how many articles about last night's game seem to think that the D-Backs were using some galaxy brain approach by starting an opener and weren't just desperately trying to work around the fact that they do not have enough good starting pitchers— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) November 1, 2023
Next year I’ll have newfound respect for Cash pulling this off on the regular.
4. It’s amazing what spending money can do
Folks were not projecting the Rangers to the World Series at the beginning of the year, but if took only two years for a franchise that poured money into a 100+ loss team to win it all. In total, the Rangers dropped $561 million in commitments on baseball’s best free agents, another $700 million on a new stadium, and traded for expensive veterans to right the ship.
If you’re reflecting on the Rays, it’s difficult to imagine a situation where you sign Jacob deGrom and replace him in the rotation with Max Scherzer mid-season, because if the Rays are shelling out money, it’s on unproven talent (like Wander Franco or Brandon Lowe), not on established stars (like Corey Seager or Marcus Semien). And when they do shell out money to keep a star (like Tyler Glasnow), you best believe they’re expected to trade that player away as soon as possible.
Is there a lesson to be learned here?
5. Evan Longoria has still got it
It took 15 long years, but seeing Evan Longoria back in the World Series was a joy, even if he didn’t get to lift the trophy.
Sure, this was not his best year offensively — it might have been health or age or both, but 2023 was a surprising step back from his resurgence in 2021 and 2022 — but when Longo took the field he was his vintage self.
There’s a multiverse out there where this man never leaves the Tampa Bay Rays, and that still stings.