The 2017 Texas Rangers payroll is expected to be in the $155-165 million range, much like it was in 2016 (when Cots put Opening Day payroll at $158 million), and with the expected addition of Andrew Cashner, it seems like a good time to take a look at where things stand currently.
If we look at Cots Contracts, they have the Rangers with $110,400,000 committed to the following ten players:
Prince Fielder -- $9 million ($24M less $6M from Detroit less $9M from insurance)
Cole Hamels — $23.5 million (of which $1M is a signing bonus already paid)
Shin-Soo Choo -- $20 million
Adrian Beltre — $18 million
Elvis Andrus — $15.25 million (of which $250K is a signing bonus already paid)
Yu Darvish — $11 million
Jonathan Lucroy — $5.25 million
Martin Perez — $4.65 million (of which $250K is a signing bonus already paid)
Tony Barnette -- $1.75 million
Josh Hamilton — $2 million ($28.41M less $26.41M from LAA)
If we deduct the pro-rated portion of the signing bonuses (since those have already been paid, but are amortized over the life of the contracts by Cots), that drops us to $108.9M for those ten players. There may also be a little bit of money coming to Texas from the Phillies on Cole Hamels this season, though that is unclear -- the structure of the subsidy hasn’t been reported, and it may be that the Phillies kicked in most of the subsidy last season.
Andrew Cashner is reportedly going to get $10 million once he officially signs. That gets the payroll up to $118.9M.
Texas also has seven arbitration-eligible players still on the roster. Those players, along with the projected arbitration salaries from MLB Trade Rumors, are:
Robinson Chirinos -- $2.1 million
Tanner Scheppers -- $1.1 million
Jake Deikman — $2.6 million
A.J. Griffin -- $1.9 million
Jurickson Profar -- $1.1 million
Jeremy Jeffress — $2.9 million
Sam Dyson -- $3.9 million
That totals up to $15.6 million for the arbitration-eligible players, which gets the total payroll up to $134.5 million. Add in another $5 million or so for your various minimum salary guys hanging around (and reports indicate minimum salaries are expected to jump under the new CBA, which will take effect for the 2017 season), and that gets the Rangers to $139.5 million or so.
Which leaves the Rangers with $20 million or so to spend on filling remaining holes.
And those aren’t insignificant...the Rangers lost three starters in free agency, in Ian Desmond, Mitch Moreland and Carlos Beltran. While one of those may be replaced internally — say, Delino DeShields or Jurickson Profar getting another shot at a starting outfield spot, or a Ryan Rua/random lefty NRI platoon at first base — you have to figure that the Rangers need to go get a center fielder and a COF/1B/DH type from outside the organization. Re-signing Ian Desmond would probably require a $15 million starting salary for 2017, and even Carlos Gomez is looking at $8-10 million...which highlights the fact that $20 million doesn’t go as far as it used to.
And there’s still the rotation, which currently sets up as Darvish/Hamels/Perez/Cashner/Griffin, but which you’d expect the Rangers will be continuing to try to upgrade via trade, or by bringing Colby Lewis back on yet another one year deal.
It also wouldn’t be surprising if one of the arbitration-eligible relievers got moved in a deal. The Rangers are fairly deep in the bullpen right now, and in a market where Brett Cecil is getting 4 years, $30 million (plus a no-trade clause), guys like Dyson, Diekman and Jeffress would likely bring a pretty nice return via trade. So there could be a little bit of money saved there, along with getting more talent from outside the organization from one of those guys being dealt.