Texas Rangers 2016 payroll: As the playoffs this year start looking more and more unlikely, I figure its worth taking a moment to peruse the Rangers' payroll situation for next year, to get a handle on what's already in place and what the team might have available to them in terms of spending room this offseason.
Looking at Cot's Contracts, we see that the Rangers have the following players under contract:
Prince Fielder -- $24 million
Josh Hamilton -- $30 million
Shin-Soo Choo -- $20 million
Adrian Beltre -- $18 million
Elvis Andrus -- $15 million
Matt Harrison -- $13 million
Yu Darvish -- $10 million
Derek Holland -- $10 million
Martin Perez -- $2.9 million
The Hamilton figure is somewhat skewed, though, because he gave up some of his $30 million salary as part of the deal that sent him to Texas, and the Angels are subsidizing most of that amount, making Texas's amount due about $2 million. Additionally, the Tigers are paying $6 million of Prince's salary.
Taking those deductions into account, the Rangers are at about $108.9 million in payroll committed to the 2016 team for those nine players.
There are also arbitration cases for several significant members of the 2015 team -- Mitch Moreland, Tanner Scheppers, Shawn Tolleson and Robinson Chirinos. Moreland is a third year arb-eligible player, and is probably looking at $6 million for 2016. Tolleson, Scheppers and Chirinos are both arb-eligible for the first time, and I'd guess they'll combine to make $6-8 million.
Leonys Martin is also arbitration-eligible. Theoretically, the Rangers could non-tender him, but I think that's unlikely, and I'd estimate he'd come in at around $5 million for 2016.
The Rangers also have Carlos Corporan and Anthony Bass as second-year arb-eligible players, but both are potential non-tender candidates (or Corporan could get dealt this year). If they return, Corporan is probably around $1.5 million, Bass at $1 million. Jurickson Profar and Nick Tepesch will also be arb-eligible, but they're likely going to wind up making an insignificant amount over the league minimum.
In any case, that means the Rangers are looking at a $125-130 million payroll for 2016, before adding anyone via trade or free agency. The Rangers' payroll for 2015 is a little above $140 million, using the Cots numbers. Once you include the minimum salary guys, you're looking, right now, at $5-15 million to spend, depending on whether or how much ownership wants to increase payroll.
That assume, of course, that no one currently under team control and due a significant amount in 2016 is dealt, which seems unlikely. There's already talk that the Rangers will be looking to move Choo this offseason, given his struggles and the other internal options the team has for his position. No one is going to absorb his entire contract, but even if the Rangers have to eat $60M of what is due, moving him would free up $8 million, if the entire subsidy is pro-rated.
Two arb-eligible guys, Moreland and Leonys, are also potential trade bait. As things stand, the Rangers don't really have an open spot in their everyday lineup, and even if Choo gets dealt, you'd think that Joey Gallo or Delino DeShields would be penciled in to fill his spot. Moving Moreland or Leonys could be a way for the team to seek to free up a roster spot and money to spend on a righthanded bat.
There's been a push to bring Yovani Gallardo back, though given he's likely looking at $15-18M per year in his next contract over 4-5 years, I'm not sure it is a given the Rangers would want to make that commitment. I do think Texas will want to add a starting pitcher this offseason, though, especially with the uncertainty over Matt Harrison's future and the fact that Yu Darvish will likely start the year on the disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Cole Hamels, of course, will continue to be talked about unless and until Philly deals him elsewhere, though fitting his $22.5M for 2016 in the budget would require either raising spending or shaving elsewhere.
Really, though, I wouldn't be shocked to see Texas bring Colby Lewis back yet again, at somewhere around $4-6 million on a one year deal, while looking to spend any other available funds on bullpen help.