Bally Sports Bankruptcy case delayed again, what does it mean for the Texas Rangers?

Texas has been extra cautious this offseason because of a lack of certainty with their media rights deal. What do they do now as the case is once-again delayed?
Atlanta Braves v Texas Rangers
Atlanta Braves v Texas Rangers / Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/GettyImages

If this offseason has felt longer and slower than normal you would be right. It is January 10th and several top free agents such as Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Josh Hader, and Jorge Soler all remain unsigned. One of the main reasons is because of the Bally Sports bankruptcy case. Teams like the Texas Rangers have been waiting for a judge to rule how much or how little the teams will be receiving from Bally Sports for the 2024 season. Now they will have to continue to wait. The hearing initially scheduled for January 10th has been pushed back to January 19th(The Athletic subscription required). Free agents have had to wait as well and teams have not been as eager to offer up large sums of money without knowing they will be bringing in that revenue for the upcoming season. The questions that need to be answered are what is the reason for the delay and will free agents continue to wait out these delays in the case? Finally, what does this mean for the Texas Rangers' ability to spend in free agency?

Why was the bankruptcy hearing delayed?

That one is simple as it seems according Evan Drellich who tweeted this out on Tuesday night.

Before Christmas it was reported that the sides had a tentative agreement. It appears that negotiations between Diamond Sports, owner of Bally Sports, and MLB are ongoing. They are currently engaged in mediation talks hoping to find an agreement among themselves.

The main issue before this judge is a settlement that is being negotiated between MLB and Diamond Sports. The New York Post on Monday night reported that MLB had rejected a $150 million offer from Amazon to stream the games of the teams that Bally Sports airs. MLB is looking for a solution to get these 11 teams including the Texas Rangers through 2024. Amazon was looking for a more long-term option. Amazon is currently out of the picture for 2024.

That leaves a dispute between MLB and Diamond Sports. A judge or a mediator will eventually rule on the settlement about how much Diamond Sports has to pay each of the remaining 11 teams that they carry the rights. There were some rumors last month that the Texas Rangers could see their rights dropped by Diamond Sports as part of this settlement. That is unless they could come to terms on a number that Texas would be satisfied with.

We will hopefully find out by January 19th if an agreement has been reached and what was agreed upon. Each team will then know how much they will be receiving in 2024. Once that is out of the way then plans for 2025 and beyond can start to be made by each of these teams and by MLB.

Will free agents continue to patiently wait?

Likely phone calls are happening across baseball today between players and their agents. Pitchers and catchers report in less than 40 days. I am sure some of these players would like to know where they will be living this upcoming season and start to make plans before having to leave for spring training in Florida or Arizona next month.

Players who are still free agents have been very patient to this point. Now I am sure teams are saying to some free agents to give them another nine days or longer to get this figured out. At that point it will be under 30 days till spring training starts. Let's watch over the rest of this week to see if we see some players grow tired of the delays and sign a contract.

What does this mean for the Texas Rangers?

None of this is good news. If Texas planned to wait until this was settled to sign a big free agent like Jordan Montgomery or Josh Hader then they might be foiled by the repeated delays. Texas could lose out on both Montgomery and Hader as they might not be willing to wait until January 19th or later.

The other option Texas has is to trust a deal will be reached and try to sign Montgomery or Hader. They were above the luxury tax level in 2023 and had to pay 1.8 million to the luxury tax poolsingle-game. They also hosted six sellout playoff games and have likely sold an absurd amount of merchandise. I am sure single game tickets and season ticket sells for 2024 have increased. I know that this money is not equitable to what Diamond Sports will pay them, but it is not a small amount either.

I hope Ray Davis approves Chris Young to open up the checkbook and try to bring Montgomery back home or add Hader to the end of the bullpen. There is no guarantee that this case will be settled on January 19th. Instead of waiting for a case that might not be settled till spring training or later, Texas can try to be active now and get the players that want to play in Arlington and improve the 2024 roster.

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