There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building a World Series contender.

This year’s matchup between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers proves such, thereby offering a wide range of information and lessons the Boston Red Sox can take into account while retooling for 2024 and beyond.

The Diamondbacks, champions of the National League, had the 10th-lowest payroll in 2023 at $119.3 million, according to Spotrac. Their highest-paid player — besides Madison Bumgarner, who was designated for assignment in April — was second baseman Ketel Marte, making $11.6 million.

The Rangers, meanwhile, had the fourth-highest payroll in Major League Baseball at $251.3 million, trailing only the New York Mets, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. Their highest-paid player was three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, making $43.3 million. They had seven others earn more than Marte, including former Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who made just six starts before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery.

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But this isn’t necessarily David vs. Goliath. At least not entirely. While the Rangers, champions of the American League, are sizable favorites (-174 at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Thursday night), they’re hardly infallible against their upstart opponents. The Snakes slithered into the postseason via the NL’s third wild-card spot and since proved they’re worthy of the championship stage, knocking off the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies en route to the Fall Classic.

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So, what can the Red Sox learn from each team? Let’s take a look.

The D-Backs truly are a mixed bag. They have a dynamic, one-of-a-kind rookie outfielder in Corbin Carroll, along with a few other up-and-comers, including catcher Gabriel Moreno and pitcher Brandon Pfaadt. They have an All-Star-caliber franchise stalwart in Marte. They have a perennial Cy Young candidate in Zac Gallen, plus a solid No. 2 starter in Merrill Kelly. Their closer, Paul Sewald, is good, albeit unspectacular. Christian Walker offers power, Alek Thomas is an elite defender on the grass and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is generally solid with the stick. Don’t sleep on Evan Longoria and Tommy Pham, two aging veterans who’ve been around the block.

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Basically, the whole is greater than the sum of Arizona’s parts. Unlike Texas’ roster, which is littered with elite talent. It’s why the D-Backs were considered a long shot in the NL West, a division they shared with three World Series hopefuls (Dodgers, Padres and San Francisco Giants). And it’s why they’re again underdogs with the Commissioner’s Trophy hanging in the balance.

That alone can be interpreted as a lesson: The best teams find players from every avenue (homegrown, free agency, trades). And oftentimes, in the absence of a collective carrying tool, it’s incumbent upon the front office to cobble together a group featuring a diverse skill set, age be damned.

That effort might require one to think outside the box. The Diamondbacks, for instance, pulled off a rare 1-for-1 prospect swap in July 2019, sending Jazz Chisholm Jr. to the Miami Marlins for Gallen. They also sold high on Daulton Varsho, a then-26-year-old capable of holding his own in the outfield and behind the plate, to land Moreno and Gurriel from the Toronto Blue Jays before this season. But such ingenuity is becoming increasingly important in a data-driven industry. Not every trade can be as simple as a perceived buyer approaching a perceived seller — either in-season or over the offseason — and submitting its highest bid for an available asset. The best deals sometimes are the ones that make both teams a little uncomfortable.

As far as between the lines, there is one area where the Diamondbacks thrive: Defensively. As’s Mike Cole explored during the ALCS/NLCS, Arizona ranked fourth in defensive runs saved (46) and third in FanGraphs’ defensive runs above average (35) in the regular season. (Texas ranked seventh and second, respectively.)

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This shouldn’t be lost on the Red Sox, who finished 24th in defensive runs saved (minus-20) and 28th in defensive runs above average (minus-29). Boston’s glove work was bad over the last couple of seasons, with roster redundancy partly to blame, and improving in that department this offseason will be paramount to the club’s 2024 success, or lack thereof.

The Rangers have much more star power, with Scherzer, Corey Seager, and Marcus Semien, among others. And much of that can be attributed to Texas’ willingness to open the checkbook, a risky approach that hasn’t necessarily worked for some teams (see Mets and Padres) but has proven fruitful for others with the financial means (see Rangers and Phillies).

Building a strong pipeline remains of the utmost importance. And the Red Sox made significant strides in that regard over the last several years. But leveraging resources — i.e. throwing around money when appropriate — can help a team, like the Red Sox, very quickly go from knocking on the door to bursting into the living room. Boston mustn’t hesitate to spend dough this winter, with its luxury tax penalties reset and several holes on the roster, most notably in the starting rotation.

In fact, the Rangers’ rotation could provide the most valuable lesson for the Red Sox as Boston navigates the coming months. Even without deGrom, whom the Rangers signed to a five-year, $185 million contract last offseason, the Rangers still have multiple horses, a stable that includes former Red Sox All-Star and 2018 playoff hero Nathan Eovaldi. Texas thus has been able to overcome a thin bullpen, the type of flaw that proved fatal for many other teams across the league that were less equipped to handle such.

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And oh yeah, the manager matters, too. The Red Sox have a good one in Alex Cora, which is reassuring given the obvious impact skipper Bruce Bochy has had in Texas this season.

Featured image via Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports Images