‘Scary’ reality: Texas Rangers all set to replace the Houston Astros atop the AL

Corey Seager had many memorable shots this fall, and his last landed directly on Crawford Street, in downtown Houston.

The Texas Rangers’ shortstop now viral comments from the team’s World Series parade on Friday in Arlington was the perfect final memory from what will forever be remembered as the perfect season.

“Everybody was wondering what would happen if the Rangers didn’t win the World Series,” he said. “I guess we’ll never know.”

Of all the people who work for the Texas Rangers, Corey Seager would be voted the Least Likely To Trash Talk an Opponent; verbally, Seager is a white toast sandwich on wheat, with a small glass of milk.

Which makes him the perfect person to deliver this zinger.

Not sure what people will remember more; this direct dig at the Astros and outfielder Alex Bregman, or Seager’s game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 of the World Series.

In their five decades in Texas, the Rangers never had this type of bravado; even their two previous teams that made the World Series, in 2010 and 2011, never were they feared. They were good, but never feared.

Winning a World Series forever changes the Texas Rangers.

Before this 2023 season began, despite the team’s enormous financial spending spree in each of the last two offseasons, no reasonable person would have had a reason to fear this team. According to oddsmakers, the Rangers had a 1.3 percent chance of winning the World Series.

Now that first one is out of the way, “Let’s a get a second one,” Rangers third baseman Josh Jung said on the field in Arizona shortly after the team won Game 5 to finish the World Series.

As much as so many people (who, me?) hammered Rangers primary owner Ray Davis over the few years, both he and his ownership group deserve credit for this one. When you win the World Series, all moves are justified.

Believe the man when he has said, many times, since the Rangers won the World Series, “We are set up for success.”

Of all the potential teams to become the threat to dethrone the Houston Astros this time one year ago, the Rangers were not on the list.

Now, they are on top of the docket.

Houston’s dynastic-run has included six American League West titles, seven consecutive trips to the A.L. Championship Series, four World Series appearances and two World Series titles.

Of late, there has been a debate whether this run qualifies as a “dynasty.” In Major League Baseball, it does.

And every run, whether it’s by the Yankees, Patriots, Spurs or the Roman Empire, eventually falls primarily because of invasion.

The Rangers have positioned themselves, and now proven themselves, as the ideal candidate to be the best in the West.

Between Seager, Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe, Josh Jung and catcher Jonah Heim, all are in prime years of their respective careers. Only one of these five, Semien, is older than 30.

In the outfield, Evan Carter is still what looks to be a freshman in high school. He’s 21, and while we should all prepare for some level of slump in his first full season as a big league player, the young man should ultimately be just fine.

ALCS MVP Adolis Garcia is not eligible for free agency until 2027. He’s only 30, and if he remains healthy, he should still have several more quality seasons ahead.

Center fielder Leodys Tavares is only 24, and will be under team control through ‘28.

There are concerns about the state of this team’s pitching staff; Jacob deGrom is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t be available until later in the 2024 season.

It’s hard to believe Max Sherzer will ever be what he once was.

Prospect Kumar Rocker is also recovering from Tommy John surgery, and his 2024 season won’t be much. Prospect Jack Leiter does not look major league-ready yet.

Jordan Montgomery has already filed for free agency, leaving Nathan Eovaldi as the one returning starter this team can count on.

The bullpen figures to be a series of question marks, commas and semi-colons until late in spring training.

Manager Bruce Bochy, 68, is under contract for two more years and although he has yet won his fourth World Series title he has zero interest in returning to retirement yet.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux, who finally won his first World Series, said he would return, “If they’ll have me back.”

Most of the Texas Rangers in 2023 will be back in 2024, which does not guarantee the results will be the same.

But this team is set up for a run, and, like Corey Seager said, we will never know what happened if the Rangers didn’t win the World Series.

They did it, and that changes everything.