The Texas Rangers announced today that they have exercised their club option for 2024 for relief pitcher Jose Leclerc. In addition, they have announced that pitcher Andrew Heaney has exercised his player option for the 2024 season. As a result, both are under contract for 2024, and remain on the 40 man roster.
The Rangers had until Monday to either exercise their option to retain Leclerc for the 2024 season at $6.25 million, or else let him become a free agent and pay him a $500,000 buyout. While just two months ago it seemed unlikely that Leclerc’s option would be exercised, he closed the season strongly and pitched well during the playoffs, making this a no-brainer. Leclerc, at this point, would seem to be the presumed closer for 2024.
Heaney’s player option for 2024 is $13 million. His season was a mixed bag, as he ended up being relegated to the bullpen for a period after the trade deadline, and ended up with a 4.15 ERA and 4.66 FIP in 147.1 IP over 28 starts and six relief appearances. He allowed 5 runs in 11 innings over five appearances in the playoffs, with the highlight being his 5 inning, one run Game 4 start it the World Series.
The 32 year old lefthander gives the Rangers some flexibility in regards to how they approach the pitching staff this offseason. As of right now, the rotation would be Heaney, Nathan Eovaldi, Max Scherzer, Jon Gray, and Dane Dunning. However, the Rangers seem likely to look to add at least one starting pitcher, in which case Dunning or Heaney would move to the bullpen. Heaney could also end up being dealt, should the Rangers feel they can allocate the $13 million he is slated to make in a more useful fashion.