How Much Money Do The Rangers Really Have?
By Eric Reining
You know, I’m not a major fan of speculation-based posts. I like to reflect on the facts. But if you’re talking about big-business — which, after all, Major League baseball is — you should take a few things into consideration: (a) How much money does ownership possess? (b) How much payroll is already tied up with the Major League roster? (c) How much wiggle room is available between the two?
As we know, the Rangers are owned by billionaire businessmen, Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, with the “face” of ownership being Nolan Ryan, who has a minority stake. The troika has money. Playing with a payroll hovering around $120 million in 2012, the Rangers held the division lead every game from Opening Day until literally the final game of the season. In 2011, the payroll was at just north of $92 million, and in 2010 — their first World Series year — it was approximately $65 million.
Their payroll has nearly increased by 100% over the last two seasons.
This offseason, the bridge between 2012 and 2013, early on we were lead to believe the Rangers had about $130 million to play with, which equates roughly to a 9.2% increase in payroll between 2012 and 2013. It’s enough money to put us, along with the Yankees and Red Sox, Angels and Dodgers, and Phillies, within the top-5th of 30 Major League franchises as far as payroll is concerned. Even if nothing comes into fruition, we can compete with each of those five teams financially.
Minus our free agents, and subtracting the $6 million that’s going to be paid by Philadelphia for Michael Young‘s contract, the Rangers had roughly $105 million tied up in their 2013 roster. Add the $7.5 million A.J. Pierzynski will be owed in 2013, and we’re talking about a payroll just north of $110 million. If we’re operating under the assumption the team has about $130 million — give or take — to work with in 2013, where exactly is the last $120 million supposed to come from?
Yesterday, the Indians and free agent Nick Swisher agreed on a 4-year, $56 million commitment ($13M/year AAV). Because the Rangers are in a significantly better position to succeed in 2013, you have to figure if Texas had offered the same deal they would have attained his services. As I’ve referenced numerous times this offseason, we greatly could have used Swisher’s bat. That would have taken payroll from about $110 million to about $123 million, leaving us with about $10 million to attain a starting pitcher and two bullpen arms (whether via trade or on the FA market).
With how cheaply Swisher came off the books, and with the need we have in our lineup for a commodity such that he is, I’m beginning to wonder just how much money we really have to spend.
Part II at another time.