Do the Texas Rangers have some of the worst contracts?
By David Cash
Recently CBS’s Matt Snyder wrote an article called ‘The American League All-Overpaid team‘. It would seem that this is probably in direct response to the absurd 13 year/$325 million deal that the Miami Marlins gave Giancarlo Stanton. While some have made negative comments about Stanton, there are some that do think the Marlins did the right thing and are building a better team in Miami. Many hope since they were willing to pay Stanton it will attract other players to join the team and help them reach the playoffs.
Matt listed the following Texas Rangers on his All-Overpaid team:
- Shortstop – Elvis Andrus, Rangers; 8 years, $118M
- Left field – Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers; 6 years, $116M
- First base – Prince Fielder, Rangers; 6 years, $144M
Past Rangers also listed are as follows:
- Third base – Alex Rodriguez, Yankees; 3 years, $61M
- Right field – Josh Hamilton, Angels; 3 years, $89M
- Relief pitcher – Joe Nathan, Tigers; 1 year, $10M
At least for the former Texas Rangers they are have no financial obligations to them. But, the Rangers did have to pay the New York Yankees for years on the horrible contract that they gave him back when Tom Hicks owned the team. Overall he was a good addition to the team, but the financial obligation was too much to allow the team to become better. Which is something the Miami Marlins should be considered about with the huge contract they gave Stanton.
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Elvis Andrus: As for the current contract that Snyder brought up he does have a valid point. Andrus, Choo and Fielder all had down and what could be considered a bad year in 2014. Elvis Andrus arrived at spring training all bearded up and not ready to play. He spent the offseason in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and didn’t pick up a ball, according to his statements. His lack of preparation showed throughout the first half of the season. He did managed to pick up his offensive numbers, but his defense was way less than stellar. It wasn’t any where worth the contract extension the Rangers signed him too.
Andrus says he’s going to work hard this offseason and do things differently. He’s only 26 years old and should have several more great years left in him. Last year was a horrible year overall of the Texas Rangers and the expectation is the team will bounce back. If Andrus does come prepared he should improve his defense next season and hopefully earn the huge contract.
Shin-Soo Choo: Last season when the Rangers signed Choo to the multi-year contract for the 32 year old everyone expected him to continue to be an on-base machine. When the season first started he appeared to be just that, but after injuring his ankle after running out a single and rolled it on the bag he wasn’t the same for the entire season. He struggled at the plate and even worse he struggled in left field. Now in the second year of the contract there are questions about him in left field and the possibility of him being a designated hitter. A better option would be for him to be placed in right field and allow another player to take over left field. They have options like Jake Smolinski or Michael Choice to cover left field.
Choo has had a couple of surgeries at the end of the season which ended his year. Everything reported says the surgeries were successful on his foot and his elbow to remove bone spurs. He’s expected to be healthy by spring training. If he’s not able to bounce back and become the on-base machine like he has been in the past, the Choo contract could indeed be one of the worst. In my opinion since he is healthy again and could be playing in right field, it seems like he batting average and on-base percentage should increase next season. Will it be one of the best again like it was with the Reds? Maybe not, but it should be good enough to allow Prince Fielder or Adrian Beltre to drive in some runs.
Prince Fielder: Lastly we come to Prince Fielder. Last offseason he was the acquisition of a blockbuster trade Jon Daniels made with the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Ian Kinsler. At the time everyone cheered and thought this was an amazing trade. It wasn’t too long after the trade that ESPN’s Buster Olney said that the Texas Rangers had the best lineup in the American League. Many expected him to be part of a team that would reach the playoffs and possibly the World Series. But, like most of the players Jon Daniels had on the team he was another broken piece to the puzzle. Shortly after the season began Fielder was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck, which required season ending surgery. From day one he struggled at the plate and never did kill the ball over the right field wall like everyone expected them to do.
Maybe Fielder suffered from his neck injuries since the 2013 playoff back when he was with the Tigers. But, since the Texas Rangers didn’t do any tests on his neck when he was signed no one is really for sure when the injury occurred. But, what we do know is that Fielder is healthy and feels better than he has in awhile. He’s back swinging the bat and is doing everything he can to prepare for the 2015 season.
If Fielder is able to regain what he did back he was with Detroit then he should be worth every penny of the contract. It seems doubt he’ll have the same numbers, not because he’s declining in ablitiyt, but because teams are playing the shift better against him. Last season some of his best hits were opposite field hits, which some he managed to turn in to a double. He did manage to drive the ball a few times, but several times they landed short of a home run and ended up a long fly ball out.
But, a healthy 100% Fielder should be able to drive the ball further and harder. If that’s the case he should increase his home run totals, drive in more runs and help protect Adrian Beltre.
So are the contracts that bad? If Choo, Andrus and Fielder have another disappointing year in 2015 then it would be easy to say that they are bad contracts. But, 2014 was a horrible year filled with decreased performance and injuries. It’s doubtful they’ll have that many injuries as a club and everyone will perform that bad. Most than likely Andrus and Fielder will have better years in my opinion. Choo is the big question mark, but he does have a lot of talent and should also bounce back. If they are able to have a good year in 2015 then for at least the time being they are not bad contracts.