What this means for the Texas Rangers in the short term?
The World Series champion Texas Rangers will likely not see any effect from this move this offseason. Bally Sports has already paid Texas its full amount for the 2023 season. Texas was also able to bring in additional revenue through six playoff home sellouts, concessions, merchandising sales, and suite sales during the postseason. I do not see Texas having to make drastic reductions in payroll like the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Guardians are having to make. San Diego is apparently trying to slash their payroll by $50 million and Cleveland DFA'd Cal Quantrill this week because of his rising salary in arbitration and the uncertainty in their media rights deal with Bally Sports.
The one area where this could impact Texas is how much salary Texas is willing to add this offseason. Their agreement with Bally paid the team $111 million per season and Texas still had several years left on the agreement. That revenue source will go from $111 million to something significantly lower. It is too early to say what this means as far as what Texas will be looking to do. This could take them out of the Shohei Ohtani chase and maybe Josh Hader.
Texas can still be active and add to the roster. They just might not be looking at the top of the market players as they have for the last two offseasons. It will just force Chris Young to be more creative and look to add players for less than maybe will take a discount to play for the World Series champion Texas Rangers.
The second question that the Texas Rangers ownership and front office will have to answer is if they are willing to remain a team that is having to pay the competitive balance tax. Texas in 2023 had was in excess of $242 million in team payroll. The competitive balance tax in 2023 was set at $233 million. So Texas will have to pay a penalty for being in excess of that number. They did win the World Series so I am sure ownership will not mind paying this penalty. The question becomes will ownership support being over the tax for a second year?
Penalties do increase every time a team goes over the tax line. Texas will have to pay a 20% tax for going over the tax line. It increases to 30% for a second year and then 50% in the third year of going over. If you want to read more about the competitive balance tax click on this link. I believe ownership will support going over the tax for a second year, but they may not support going over a third year. Chris Young will likely have to find a way to spend money for 2024 with a plan of getting back under the tax in 2025.
The Texas Rangers front office will not have it easy this winter. The desire will be spend to put together a roster that can challenge for and win another World Series. The financial realties of losing Bally Sports will be in conflict of that desire. Chris Young will have to walk a tightrope of putting together a good roster, while also not exhausting all of the Rangers' financial resources. It will not be easy.