The sports world was generally thrown for a loop on Wednesday morning when Diamond Sports announced they had reached a deal with Amazon to acquire a percentage ownership stake in Bally Sports. This deal will keep Bally Sports around beyond 2024 and transfer streaming rights for the teams Bally Sports owns those rights for to Amazon Prime Video. It is a massive announcement in a long bankruptcy process with many twists and turns over the last year. It now looks like with today's announcement everything is almost settled except for one key issue regarding the Texas Rangers and two other major league teams.
Did anything change for Texas with this agreement?
Texas still has a long term contract with Diamond Sports. There is a hold-up with Diamond Sports in that they do not want to pay Texas the agreed-upon amount. They are threatening to drop the Rangers unless they can agree with Diamond Sports on a lower amount to be paid. Texas did have a lawyer who made a statement after today's proceedings,
A Diamond Sports lawyer has set a deadline of February 1st to have agreements in place with the Texas Rangers and two other teams. A hearing that was previously scheduled for Friday has now been postponed indefinitely. Texas continues to allow itself to be held down in free agent pursuits by these ever-changing deadlines.
What does this mean for Texas and Jordan Montgomery?
All of the baseball pundits continue to believe that Texas is the leader to sign Jordan Montgomery. Jon Heyman said as much on Wednesday in a live-stream video.
It appears that Texas is not going to make a serious effort to resign Montgomery or spend significant dollars in free agency until this deal is settled. I have said before that this approach does not make much sense with what Texas did last season and the increased amount of revenue Texas will bring in for this season. It appears ownership has said tv deal first and then free agency next. Some hesitation about not knowing what the future will hold is causing some present-day issues.
The ultimate question that continues to be asked about Montgomery is how patient is he willing to be? He has been very patient so far and has waited out all of these delays in the resolution of Texas' media rights. The delay has now been extended to at the latest February 1st. It is possible some other team swoops in now and tries to sign Montgomery before Texas reaches an agreement with Diamond Sports. The Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, or the San Francisco Giants have all been tied to Montgomery. according to Jon Heyman in the video above. If Texas insists on waiting this out they could lose someone who would have been an important piece in the first half of the season while waiting for all of the injured pitchers to return.
Texas has communicated without publicly saying it that they are waiting out a resolution on the media rights. Fans just have to hope that an agreement is reached soon and Texas can put all of this uncertainty in the rear view mirror and positively finish the offseason. Until then it just is a waiting game that continues to paralyze any significant offseason movements that Texas would be able to make as they start their World Series defense next month.