Texas Rangers news: Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa get raises
By Seth Carlson
Two veteran Texas Rangers players got salary raises for 2021, showing the team’s confidence in their abilities.
What do Texas Rangers‘ outfielder Joey Gallo and shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa have in common?
Besides being teammates and each capturing 2020 Gold Gloves, they’re both starters at their respective positions (right field and shortstop) and they have both secured the bag going into the 2021 season.
Well earned, boys.
According to Evan Grant, Gallo was supposed to earn $4.4 million in arbitration in 2020, but financial limitations and salary reductions meant Gallo had to take less than that over the 60-game shortened campaign.
Gallo will make $6.2 million in 2021.
The 27-year-old southpaw slugger had a down season in 2020, experiencing a career low in OPS (.679) but still crushing 10 home runs in 193 at-bats and winning a Gold Glove in right field, his first career defensive accolade.
It’s heartening that the Texas Rangers view Gallo as being worthy of receiving a salary raise, since the team believes he’s in line for a bounce-back 2021 season with more games to play.
Additionally, Gallo is expected to hit free agency in 2023, meaning the Rangers could be inclined to trade him sooner rather than later if an extension is not in the cards. A higher salary valuation indicates the Rangers would expect his potential trade value to improve this coming season.
As for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 2020 proved to be a great year.
Splitting time between shortstop and third base primarily, IKF won Gold Gloves at both positions during the shortened season, while also posting career bests with the bat in OBP (.329), OPS (.699) and SLG (.370).
The soon to be 26-year-old was named the Texas Rangers’ starting shortstop for 2021, and will enter Spring Training as if that gig is his to lose.
With more consistent playing time and at just one position this coming season, Kiner-Falefa should finally be able to flourish and make a name for himself in Chris Woodward’s starting nine, as well as forcing the Rangers’ front office to consider him as part of the future in Arlington.
A $2.2 million salary figure for 2021 only reinforces Texas’ belief in IKF to be a productive contributor to the ballclub, especially when juxtaposed against his meager $587,000 mark earned in 2020.
The Texas Rangers rarely ever go to arbitration these days.
The other main takeaway from this year’s round of arbitration settlings: the Texas Rangers are pretty good at maneuvering through them.
2021 now marks the 20th consecutive year in which the organization has avoided going to salary arbitration with any of their eligible players.
Texas’ last arbitration case? First baseman Lee Stevens at the turn of the 21st century.