MLB News

Andrew Heaney Opts-In, Rangers Pick Up Option On Jose Leclerc

2023-24 Player Option/Opt-Out Update: April Edition

When the Rangers attempt to repeat their 2023 World Series championship next season, they’ll have two more familiar names on the roster. The club announced today that left-handed veteran Andrew Heaney exercised his $13MM player option for the 2024 campaign, while the club picked up a $6.25MM team option on the services of righty reliever Jose Leclerc for next season.

Heaney, 32, was regarded as a borderline candidate to opt out of his final year in Texas and return to the open market this offseason. MLBTR readers were polled on Heaney’s upcoming decision last month, with 62% of respondents suggesting that Heaney ought to exercise his player option for the 2024 campaign and return to the Rangers against 38% suggesting he return to the open market this offseason in search of a more lucrative deal.

It’s certainly an understandable decision. After signing in Texas on the heels of a strong albeit injury-shortened campaign with the Dodgers last year, Heaney managed to stay healthy in 2023 but saw his results take a turn for the worse: while his 147 1/3 innings of work in 2023 more than doubled the 72 2/3 innings of work he posted in LA, his ERA ballooned from 3.10 last year up to 4.15 in 2023 while he struck out just 23.6% of batters faced after striking out a whopping 35.5% with the Dodgers. Given the downturn in results and his lengthy injury history, it was reasonable to wonder if Heaney would simply be better off hoping for a stronger platform season in 2024 rather than wading into a deep class of free agent starting options.

With Heaney locked in as a member of the Rangers pitching staff for 2024, it leaves Texas with a quality, mid-rotation veteran option available to them as a potential Opening Day rotation option next season. With Jordan Montgomery and Martin Perez both heading to the open market and ace righty Jacob deGrom rehabbing Tommy John surgery to open next year, Heaney’s return could theoretically round out a Rangers starting five that already contained Max Scherzer, Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, and Dane Dunning. With that being said, both Heaney and Dunning have seen plenty of time in relief roles in the past, leaving the door open for potential additions to the club’s starting group if they look to re-sign Montgomery or add another front-end starter to pair with Scherzer and Eovaldi atop the club’s rotation.

As for Leclerc, the Rangers’ decision to retain the 29-year-old righty is hardly a surprising one. After struggling in…

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