Rangers could add $ 100million to their payroll next season, rocking GM meetings

CARLSBAD, Calif .– Word got out. The Rangers are serious this winter. It is one thing for them to say that; it is another thing for their peers and competitors to believe in it.

You couldn’t walk 15 feet to GM meetings on Tuesday without running into another baseball official who almost said the Rangers were going to make it rain in free agency.

Chris Young didn’t really hush up that speech Tuesday afternoon either.

“I think it’s all relative,” Young said when asked how spendthrift the Rangers would be. “But, we said towards the end of the season that we are committed to having a payroll consistent with the size of our market. We intend to increase the payroll.

Next question: how much?

Up to $ 100 million, if not more, said two industry sources. Young was not going. At least not exactly. But, he left some clues.

“We expect the payroll for 2022 to increase to such an extent as it has been in the past.”

According to Baseball Prospectus, the Rangers generated an average payroll of $ 143 million over the five pre-pandemic seasons. According to Forbes, it was closer to $ 155 million. Let’s meet in the middle and call it $ 150 million on average. Counting all of their future obligations, scheduled arbitration cases, pre-arbitration players and dead money, the Rangers have committed about $ 47 million for 2022. Do the math.

Which brings us to the last question: exactly how do you spend all that money?

Glad you asked. If there’s one thing we’re better at than spending our own money on, it’s spending someone else’s. And through the MLB Trade Rumors Free Agency projection machine, we have tried to match the needs of the Rangers with the projected markets for potential solutions. It might surprise you, but we’ve found a way to spend all that money and meet a number of needs.

Here is an overview:

Shortstop: Trade Rumors predicts that Carlos Correa and Corey Seager will each withdraw an annual value of at least $ 30 million. The Astros have already offered Correa $ 32 million a year for five years, which is only a five-year contract too short to even be considered serious. It’s basically an offer to say, “Hey, we tried. “

Correa and Seager or Seager and Correa – whatever your ranking – are the two best shortstops on the market. But, both the annual and the total investment is huge and could handcuff the club in the long run. Business rumors suggest Trevor Story will receive $ 21 million per year for six years. Let’s say they’re about $ 1.5 million a light year. Make sure Story’s arm, which seemed to be causing him problems at the end of the year, is healthy, and if so, check off the shortstop for $ 22.5 million per year.

External field: The Rangers need at least one. Two couldn’t hurt. The top of the market is Nick Castellanos with a projected average annual value of $ 23 million over five years. The Rangers could certainly pull that off. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if MLB doesn’t change its rules regarding compensation for draft picks for players who have received qualifying offers, then the Rangers should give up a pick if they sign. Castellanos and another for one of the shortstops.

Alternatives: Starling Marte, who is a better defenseman, and is expected to earn $ 20 million per year for four years or Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who is expected to cost $ 11 million per year for five years after a publication fee, equivalent to about 20 percent of the contract. Suzuki’s average is around $ 13 million per year. Push for Suzuki, a powerful right-handed hitter who is younger than Marte or Castellanos. Get it and we’ve spent $ 35.5 million.

Starting launch: Dane Dunning and Taylor Hearn have offered promises, but the Rangers are severely short of innings pitched and experience. While the offense was horrendous in 2021, the pitch addressing cannot be overlooked.

“It’s a priority for all good teams to have a good starting pitcher,” said Young. “Having the right veteran players in our rotation to help these [younger] will help. It will be important to have stabilizing guys to move forward. “

Here, it becomes a bit risky. Pushing hard for Clayton Kershaw makes perfect sense in terms of helping young pitchers, but there is real concern if his arm will allow him to pitch. Commercial rumors project him to secure a one-year contract worth $ 20 million. It probably takes at least a guaranteed second year to completely convince him to come home.

It’s a bet a team with money falling out of their pockets can afford to take. Especially if he’s paired with Jon Gray (projected at $ 14 million per year), Yusei Kikuchi (projected at $ 10 million per year) or Steven Matz (at $ 9 million). Kikuchi pitched in the AL West and he will likely only have two guaranteed seasons. Go Kershaw and Kikuchi so you can add a few Ks to the starting rotation. Total spent: $ 65.5 million.

The Joker : Call Oakland. The A’s have basically announced that they are open for business. Evaluate the actual availability of powerful and powerful first baseman Matt Olson. It would take at least a top-level hopeful to lead a pack for him. Would Rangers be ready to include 2020 first round Justin Foscue in a deal? This could trigger discussions. It would certainly take more.

Olson is arbitrage-eligible and is expected to earn $ 12 million in 2022. But, you wouldn’t trade the arbitration-eligible guy for Olson; you would trade to extend it long term. This could increase his salary a bit. Let’s be generous: $ 14 million to include a signing bonus. Total spent: $ 80 million.

That leaves the Rangers room for other things, like a veteran reliever or two, and maybe some room for a mid-season trade if things go better than expected.

It transforms the team. And you can bet Chris Young will sell it too.

“You have the opportunity to be a part of something that has never been done in Texas Ranger baseball history: be part of a world championship team that is built from the ground up,” Young said. about his spiel to free agents. “If you are buying stocks, now is the time to buy Ranger stocks. This is how I feel. “

Texas Rangers Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Young watches from the dugout during the Texas Rangers year-end press conference at Globe Life Field on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, in Arlington, TX.

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