Talking season continues for baseball players as the majority of camps do not open until next week. On Thursday the player doing the talking was Josh Hader as he was interviewed on Foul Territory. It is a show aired on YouTube and hosted by former MLB Network analyst Scott Braun and former catcher and Texas Ranger A.J. Pierzynski. They had Hader on their show on Thursday to discuss his free agency and what he is looking forward to in 2024. He made news in the interview when he said he was done pitching multiple innings. He also talked about which teams were pursuing him and why he eschewed conventional wisdom and signed with Houston over Texas.
"Yeah, I mean I think that was the biggest thing for them was the TV deal. Obviously I'm not behind their finances or anything like that, but that's what was stopping them from making moves I guess. Like I said we're here to win a World Series and Houston was the team that showed us that they are all in for that opportunity and they have done it too and so we will go with the Houston Astros. "- Josh Hader
He also when asked earlier in the interview about the teams involved did not mention Texas as a potential destination. It does not appear that Texas was ever involved with Josh Hader. It begs the question of whether will we see a similar quote from Jordan Montgomery in the coming days when he signs his contract with a different organization. That he believes the tv deal is the reason why he is playing for this new team. If we step back and really look at the entire situation is the tv deal really the reason or is it something else that is holding Texas back from signing Montgomery?
Is the TV deal really hampering the Texas Rangers or is this a choice they are making?
The tv situation has for the most part been resolved. It was announced on Friday that a judge had accepted the terms between Diamond Sports Group and the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians, and Minnesota Twins. Bally Sports will continue to air games for those three teams for the 2024 season. It was not made available how much a reduction in rights fees each team had to accept. That was kept sealed. The last step is for the agreement to be accepted by the creditors of Diamond Sports and that should happen next week.
Texas will soon be receiving money from Diamond Sports Group. We will quickly find out if that is what was holding Texas back or if this was just a desire of the front office to not spend big this offseason. It could be Chris Young and ownership saying after two consecutive offseasons of massive spending sprees they wanted to refrain from giving out big contracts this year. The luxury tax is certainly an issue for this team. They are positioned to be a taxpayer for the second consecutive season. Their payroll is currently sitting at 241 million heading into the 2024 season according to Spotrac.com. That will force them to pay a higher penalty for being in the tax for a second season. If they do sign Montgomery to the contract that is speculated that could put them in a position to see their 2025 first-round pick moved back 10 places. There is motivation to not add another significant salary for that reason.
The story has been about Bally Sports all offseason when it should have been about the luxury tax. Camp starts in four days and the team Texas has assembled to this point is likely to be the team that reports to Surprise, Arizona to begin the defense of the franchise's first World Series championship. While fans continue to hope for a late winter present in the form of Jordan Montgomery they will be content knowing that this team is still in a position to compete for it all in 2024 with or without him.