June 21, 2024
Texas Rangers pitcher Andrew Heaney throws.

Texas Rangers pitcher Andrew Heaney throws during the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS.

(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The Yankees, Mets and Padres failed to make the playoffs, and the Dodgers, Braves and Blue Jays were vanquished along the way. The Brewers, Marlins, Orioles and Rays won while thrifty, and the Diamondbacks are in the World Series.

So money doesn’t matter? Well … not quite. Six teams in the top 10 in payroll made the playoffs, as did six of the other 20.

The Rangers’ spending transformed them from a 102-loss team in 2021 to a World Series entrant in 2023. Two winters ago, they spent $500 million on Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien. Last winter, they spent $264 million on four starting pitchers: Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, and Martin Perez. In July, they spent $22.5 million more to acquire another starting pitcher: Max Scherzer.

Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald, traded in July from AL West contender Seattle to Arizona, said the Mariners noticed how the Rangers had spent to win and the Mariners had not.

“When your division rival literally takes you out at your home stadium like that,” Sewald told the Chris Rose Podcast before Game 3 of the ALCS, “and all they did was go from last place to two games away from the World Series by spending money, it hits you harder.

“They went from a team that we used to just wax to taking our spot in two years by spending. It can be spent irresponsibly. Look at New York and San Diego. Or it can be spent really, really well.”

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