Texas Rangers: What Club Options are Picked Up in 2019?
By Kenneth Nash
Heading into 2019, the Texas Rangers will have decisions over whether to pick up the club options on five current players. Who should be back?
It’s never too early to delve into the 2019 season and what players will be on the roster. This offseason, the Rangers will have plenty of decisions to make including whether they’ll pick up the club option on five current players. We’re still a few months away from these decisions having to be made but no doubt Texas is already considering their plans.
LHP, Cole Hamels
2019 Contact Status: $20,000,000 Club Option w/ $6,000,000 Buyout
We’ll start with Cole Hamels because Texas likely won’t even be the team making this decision. Hamels has long since been the discussion of trade rumors this summer and looks pretty certain to be on his way out of Arlington. So the Rangers likely won’t be the team considering whether or not to pick up his option for 2019. If they were though, I’m fairly certain they’d buy Cole out and part ways with the lefty.
Even though the Rangers may not be wholly making the decision here, I have no doubt that they will be on the hook for his $6m buyout for 2019. Many expect that stipulation could be a part of any deal that gets done for Hamels this summer and I’m one that expects it. For Texas, it’s a no-brainer as essentially they’d be spending $6m to acquire some prospects.
Expectation: Buyout (traded this summer)
C, Robinson Chirinos
2019 Contract Status: $2,375,000 Club Option w/ $100,000 Buyout (performance based)
The Rangers showed their appreciation for Robinson Chirinos last season when they extended him through 2018. They added a club option for 2019 with a $100,000 buyout that could increase depending on plate appearances according to TR Sullivan at MLB.com. Despite this confidence, Chirinos has not impressed this season and many are calling for a reevaluation of the catching position. The 34-year old is undoubtedly a fan favorite in Arlington but his career is winding down and the Rangers are looking towards the future.
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Catcher is one area of the farm system that is stocked with talent and a number of players are already knocking on the door. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the super-utility man, has even gotten playing time behind the plate and represents a much better hitter than Chirinos. I think the Rangers would like to bring Robinson back because of his leadership and clubhouse presence, but his dismal stats make swallowing a $2.4m option tough. If he is bought out, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Rangers bring him back on a more team friendly 1-year deal.
Expectation: Buyout (re-signs with Texas)
LHP, Martin Perez
2019 Contract Status: $7,500,000 Club Option w/ $750,000 Buyout
This is possibly the most difficult situation to assess of all the options. Martin Perez has had a poor season in 2018 but to be fair he’s struggled with injuries and only made 6 starts. To get an idea of his talent level you have to look at 2016 and 2017 where he made over 30 starts each year. His numbers still won’t blow you away but they’re much more reasonable especially considering he was in his mid-20’s. Hopes for Martin Perez were once pretty high but they never really materialized and Texas has to be willing to concede that his peak is a back end of the rotation starter with an ERA around 4.00.
The Texas Rangers will need more time to figure out what their best course of action is with Perez and luckily they have the rest of the season. He’ll be 28 next season and his option is for $7.5m which is a pretty respectable sum. He can make this decision really easy either way. If he continues to struggle like he did early this year, the Rangers likely will eat his $750,000 buyout and part ways with him. Or, if he can get back to his 2016 and 2017 performances, the Rangers won’t hesitate to pick up his option for next season. Anything in between and it’ll be a tough choice. If they do part ways with him, Perez will have a tough time getting a deal as lucrative as the one he’s got, but somebody will take a chance on him. If Texas does hold on to him, they have another club option for 2020 with a $250,000 buyout meaning they can stall the decision for another year.
Expectation: Club Option
RHP, Doug Fister
2019 Contract Status: $4,500,000 Club Option w/ $500,000 Buyout
Doug Fister, somewhat like Martin Perez, is a bit of a weird situation to assess. Fister has spent his fair share of time injured and hasn’t blown away anybody when he has pitched. He’s made 12 starts for the Rangers and posts a 1-7 record with a 4.50 ERA. The record is not solely his fault as he didn’t have tons of run support for his starts. Despite not being consistent this season, the Rangers have less of an internal debate here than with Martin.
Fister, who will be 35 in 2019, is only owed $4.5m if his option is picked up which is extremely cheap for a Major League starter. Because of the Rangers problems with pitching depth in the minors, Fister also isn’t necessarily preventing anybody from getting playing time. The downside here is he is on the 60-Day DL as of June 10th meaning he won’t be back until August. If he can stay healthy the rest of the season and put in a couple of solid performances, Texas would be inclined to pick up this option and use him as rotation depth.
Expectation: Club Option
LHP, Matt Moore
2019 Contract Status: $10,000,000 Club Option w/ $750,000 Buyout
This one probably is the easiest decision for the Rangers but we’ll go ahead and go through the factors. The 29-year old Matt Moore was acquired from the San Francisco Giants this past offseason as rotational depth. As a starter he’s got an 8.02 ERA and 1-5 record through 12 starts. The Rangers have also tried him in the bullpen where he’s seen markedly more success with opponents hitting just .208 against him.
It’s hard to see any scenario where Texas decides a starter with an ERA above 8.00 is worth $10,000,000 a year even if he does move to the bullpen. Even at 30-years old it’ll be hard for people to argue that he can find some sort of resurgence on the mound.
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Let us know what you think Texas will do with these players in the comments below.