The Texas Rangers Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward
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Saturday, January.19th, 2013
By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent): Follow @NRoss56
It is easy to equate a big market team’s success with merely a willingness to overspend on free agents and use their superior earning power to dominate the sport. While the Rangers certainly are not afraid of spending all that money that playing the Dallas/Fort Worth area provides, it would be inaccurate to equate the team’s recent string of success with only their ability to outspend a fair portion of their competitors. As we enter the 2013 season, the Rangers have built a very strong base – while managing to not tie themselves to any back-breaking, future altering contracts. That is a testament to the organization’s belief in its system – and its refusal to spend on player just because they are able to. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Rangers 2013 payroll as of now and see where Texas will be spending its money next season.
Rangers 2011 ALCS Clincher:
The Big Contracts ($10 Million and over):
Adrian Beltre– $16 Million (In the third year of a 5 year/$80 Million Contract).
Ian Kinsler– $13 Million (In the first year of a 5 year/$75 Million Contract).
Nelson Cruz– $10.75 Million (In the second year of a 2 year/$16 Million Contract).
Lance Berkman– $10 Million (In the first year of a 1 year/$10 Million Contract).
I think one of the things that needs to be pointed out about the Rangers’ big contracts is that none of them would qualify as milestone contracts that could ultimately hurt the Rangers flexibility – or ability to acquire a key player to help them contend in the future. Adrian Beltre, who is their most expensive player, is the 30th most expensive player in the major leagues. Beltre has been worth every penny so far as he has provided 5.6 and 6.5 wins above replacement (WAR) the last two seasons. The question will be can he continue his borderline MVP-caliber play as he enters his age 34 season. If he can manage to keep up his current pace, clearly the Rangers will be ecstatic about the decision to pay him after the 2010 season. The good news is that if he does regress from his near-elite status the Rangers will only have two years of paying an overpriced Third Baseman.
The closest thing the Rangers have to a detrimental contract is Ian Kinsler‘s new $75 Million Dollar extension that kicks in this year. The Rangers extended Kinsler’s contract after a 7.5 WAR season in 2011, which in retrospect seems like a bit of a statistical outlier. Last year, Kinsler regressed from that to a 3.2 WAR which was in line with his 2010 numbers. Last year’s peripheral statistics are more in line with the rest of Kinsler’s career than 2011. That being said, there are far worse contracts in baseball than Kinsler’s deal. Neither Cruz nor Berkman should be considered much of a problematic long-term deal – although both have the possibility to frustrate Texas fans with injuries and age related regression.
Total Spent: $49.75 Million
The Mid-level Deals-
Yu Darvish– $9.5 Million (In the second year of 6 Year/$56 Million Contract).
A.J. Pierzynski– $7.5 Million (in the first year of 1 Year/$7.5 Million Contract).
Joe Nathan– $7.0 Million (in the second year of 2 Year/$14 Million Contract- with club option for third year at $9 Million contract).
David Murphy– $5.78 Million (Was granted a one year deal for 5.78 Million Dollars to avoid arbitration. He is eligible for Free Agency in 2014).
Elvis Andrus– $5.05 Million (in the second year of a 3 Year/$14.4 Million Contract).
Matt Harrison– $5.00 (in the first year of a 5 Year/$55 Million Contract).
Joakim Soria– $4.00 Million (in the first year of a 2 Year/$8.00 Million Contract).
Leonys Martin– $3.25 Million (in the third year of a 5 Year/$15.5 Million Contract).
Derek Holland– $3.20 Million (in the second year of a 5 Year/$28.5 Million Contract- with a club option for a sixth year at a $11 Million Contract).
Neftali Feliz– $2.9 Million (Feliz is Arbitration Eligible again in 2014 after signing a 1 YR/$2.9 Million Contract a few days ago).
Geovany Soto– $2.75 Million (in the first year of 1 Year/$2.75 Million Contract).
Colby Lewis– $2.00 Million (in the first year of 1 Year/$2.00 Million Contract extension).
Jason Frasor– $1.50 Million (in the first year of 1 Year/$1.50 Million Contract).
The mid-level deals are really where the Rangers find value. Yu Darvish is a particularly valuable piece given his age and his success last season. Darvish had a WAR of 5.1, which was good enough to tie for sixth in the Major Leagues. To understand the kind of surplus value Darvish provides, we only need look at the pitcher who he was tied with – (Zack Greinke).
On the open market, Greinke just broke the bank to the tune of approximately $150 Million Dollars. This is an added value of $94 Million over the length of Darvish’s contract, and Darvish is 3 years younger than Greinke. Additionally, Darvish carried an unbelievably impressive 10.40 K/9 ratio which was good for second best in the Majors. Having this type of pitcher locked in for 5 years at a reasonable rate is an incredibly valuable piece. Another fairly amazing value is Elvis Andrus. Andrus is worth 4.2 WAR and there is an argument he might be the best defensive shortstop in the Major Leagues.
Again, having Andrus at below market value for two years is a huge boon to the Rangers. Besides the ace of the pitching staff and their starting shortstop, the Rangers round out another three members of their starting rotation (Holland, Harrison and Lewis), a top ten starting catcher in A.J. Pierzynski and the back-end of their bullpen in their closer Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria, whose pre-injury statistics were very acceptable for a closer. Just before this article was published the Rangers decided to avoid arbitration with Matt Harrison by signing him to 5 Year, 55 Million Dollar deal. This was an interesting decision by the Rangers. All of Harrison’s peripheral statistics lead us to the conclusion that he is an average major league pitcher who takes advantage of his command to compete at this level. I don’t necessarily believe that Harrison serves a role as anything more than a 3/4 pitcher in a competitive Major League lineup, but perhaps, in the current market, 55 Million Dollars is the going rate for that type of pitcher.
Total Overall Spent: $109.5 Million
The Low Level Deals:
Alexi Ogando– $497,600 (in the final year prior to Arbitration Eligibility- four more years of team control).
Mitch Moreland– $491,100 (in the final year prior to Arbitration Eligibility- four more years of team control).
Craig Gentry– $484,300 (in the final year prior to Arbitration Eligibility- four more years of team control).
Michael Kirkman– $482,900 (in the second year prior to Arbitration Eligibility – five more years of team control).
Robbie Ross– $480,000 (in the second year prior to Arbitration Eligibility – five more years of team control).
Tanner Scheppers– $480,000 (in the second year prior to Arbitration Eligibility – five more years of team control).
Wilmer Font– $480,000 (rookie year- only pitched in three games for the Rangers last season and debuted on September 18, 2012).
Martin Perez– $480,000 (rookie year.)
Jurickson Profar– Rookie year deal.
There are 9 Low Level Deals that make this total hit: 113.9 Million
Michael Young – 10.0 Million
Scott Feldman – 600,000
Total after buyouts and overall: 124.5 Million. Projected 2013 Payroll is 120-130 Million
Again, we can find some terrific value for the Rangers in their low-level contracts, although clearly we see that there isn’t as much value as in the middle of the pack contracts. Feliz was an electric arm that the Rangers were trying in different roles, but after having to undergo Tommy John surgery late last season, it is questionable whether the team will derive any value at all from Feliz in 2013. He is most likely a 2014 candidate to start accumulating innings again. The Rangers are a paying minimum salary for Moreland, who will be their starting first baseman and similar deals for several bullpen pieces. Perez and Ogando will most likely duel for the final rotation spot as long as another pitcher is not brought on board prior to spring training. All in all, the Rangers minimum level contracts are about what you would expect on a competitive ball club. It is a group of useful pieces with some upside. Obviously, Jurickson Profar is the player with the highest upside of these players, but it has yet to be seen whether Texas will maneuver its infield in order to provide the uber-prospect with the opportunity to demonstrate this value. The last contract left to add (barring any more FA signings) is David Murphy
Future breakdown: It’s likely the Rangers will say good-bye to Nelson Cruz, and potentially, Lance Berkman after the 2013 season. Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison’s deals will eventually increase so that the Rangers are spending a similar amount of money, but as previously discussed, this is not an excessive amount for a team in the Rangers’ market. Overall, the Rangers are will be in fantastic shape moving forward to add expensive, high-end pieces to a competitive base. The future is bright in the Lone Star State.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Trade Correspondent’ Nicholas Rossoletti for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a young professional living in downtown Miami. He is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid Yankee supporter. Having grown up during the last two decades, he counts Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as his favorite ball players of all time. He believes in sabermetrics and that new stats have already changed the way the baseball industry sees players. He was for Trout over Cabrera, he thinks RBIs tell you a lot more about a team than a player and that defense and pitching, ultimately, win championships. Rational thought and introspective analysis over the narrative is how we come to understand the game we love. The narrative is just a way to keep those who don’t really love the game watching. Feel free to follow Nicholas on twitter and talk the game of baseball Follow @NRoss56
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Posted on January 19, 2013, in MLB Payroll and Contracts, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2010 World Series, 2011 World Series, @Nross56 on twitter, a.j. pierzynski, adrian beltre, AL West, Alexi Ogando, baltimore orioles, colby lewis, craig gentry, david murphy, Derek Holland, geovany soto, gold glove award winner, ian kinsler, Jason Frasor, joakim soria, joe nathan, jon daniels, josh hamilton, jurickson profar, koji uehara, lance berkman, leonys martin, los angeles angels, martin perez, michael young, mike adams, mike napoli, mike olt, neftali feliz, nicholas rossoletti, nolan ryan, rangers 25 man roster 2013, rangers payroll 2013, robbie ross, Ron Washington, russ grimm, ryan dempster, san francisco giants, scott boras, silver slugger award winner, st louis cardinals, tanner scheppers, texas, texas rangers, the ballpark in arlington, yu darvish. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.