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2007 Rangers salary situation

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In my last post, I talked about the Rangers taking on salary via trade. In conjunction with that, I figured I'd outline the Rangers' salary situation for 2007.

The following players are under contract for 2007:

Kevin Millwood -- $10.5 million
Mark Teixeira -- $9.4 million
Francisco Cordero -- $5 million
Hank Blalock -- $4.75 million
Michael Young -- $3.5 million

That's it. $33.15 million. Add in the $7 million or so for ARod, and the team is at around $40 million.

The Rangers have three significant arbitration-eligible players...Brad Wilkerson, Kevin Mench, and Akinori Otsuka. Assuming all three stay, the Rangers are looking at about $5 million for Wilkerson, $4 million for Mench, and $3 million for Otsuka.

That gets the payroll to $52 million.

The starting catcher, second baseman, and DH are likely to be Laird, Kinsler and Botts, and those three, combined, are going to be at around $1.2 million.

You are going to have 5 more bullpen guys, although at least 3 of them are likely to come from within -- C.J. Wilson, Scott Feldman, Kam Loe and Wes Littleton, with maybe Joaquin Benoit sticking around. The first four aren't arb-eligible, while Benoit is, but regardless, you are talking about no more than $1.5 million for those three slots in the pen.

That gets the payroll to close to $55 million, with centerfield, 4 rotation spots, 2 bullpen slots, and the bench to fill.

The Rangers don't seem likely to go out and spend big in the free agency market for the rest of the pen, or for the bench...that would seem to bump the payroll to $60 million, tops, leaving CF and the remainder of the rotation to fill out.

Now, how does that impact trade possibilities? Let's say the Rangers can pick up Jon Lieber and Bobby Abreu in a deal that includes Kevin Mench. Using Hardball Dollars numbers for Abreu and Lieber for 2007, that would add $22.5 million for the two new players. But you'd drop Mench from the payroll for next year, which means a net increase of $18.5 million.

That puts payroll at $78.5 million, needing to fill 3 starting rotation slots, plus centerfield.

I think the Rangers are going to either try to bring GMJ back -- which would likely mean spending $4-5 million on him for 2007 -- or will go with Freddy Guzman in centerfield. And I think that the Rangers are going to probably slot two internal options in the rotation, which are going to combine for $1 million, at most.

That allows the Rangers to bring either Padilla or Eaton back at $6 million for 2007, which would put payroll at $85.5 million if the Rangers go with Freddy Guzman in centerfield, or close to $90 million if they go with GMJ.

And that includes the ARod money.

I don't think that's an unrealistic scenario. The Rangers can certainly manage that.