Texas Rangers promise to pay ‘market dollars’ for big free agents
ARLINGTON, Texas – If you’ve been paying attention to Texas Rangers over the past couple of months, you may have heard the words “very active” attached to Rangers and the next free agency class.
As president of baseball operations Jon Daniels, GM Chris Young and manager Chris Woodward tied a bow in a 60-102 season on Wednesday, we got a much clearer picture of what that will look like.
“We’re going to be discussing the players in every category, every position and every area of the market,” Daniels said. “There is no one we are going to exclude because of a perceived price.”
Translation: “We will spend the money.”
But just in case you don’t like the translations or read between the lines, Daniels has doubled down on exactly what Rangers – and property – are set to do this winter.
“The property recently re-committed to supporting us financially, to paying market dollars,” Daniels said. “We’re not in the playoffs, obviously. We haven’t been for five years. We don’t have that advantage. We’re not on TV tonight. We understand that’s not a situation in which we’re looking for discounts. We’ll have to pay market dollars in order to get the best players and we’re ready to do it. “
Currently, the Rangers have just over $ 28 million on the books for next year. While Daniels would not give specific figures on the 2022 payroll budget (front office leaders rarely give specific figures at a formal press conference), but said the budget would be “consistent with the market and fan base of this size ”.
For Rangers fans, this should all sound good on the surface. The property gave Daniels, Young & Co. the green light to buy, apparently at will. After all, Dallas-Fort Worth is in the top five markets.
Problem is, the Rangers just had a 102-game losing streak. As a general rule, even if a stupid amount of money is thrown at a player, it will be difficult to attract the best players in any free agent market, especially one as deep as this year’s class.
“We understand where we are at. We’re realistic about it,” Daniels said. “We’re a 60-game winning club. It’s not lost on us. But we think we have a lot of positives. We think we can start to put things in place with an active offseason, in internal and with external additions and We don’t expect to win 30 or 40 league games in a winter, but we’re going to take real steps in that direction.
Daniels already said InsideTheRangers.com in an exclusive interview that this winter’s plan to add free agents is not a one-year contract. He reiterated that on Wednesday, saying the property had given the green light “to spend for a number of years.”
“It’s not a one-off-season quick fix,” Daniels reiterated on Wednesday. “We’re not looking to sign a player to be the final piece of a club that has clearly struggled this year. We’re looking for players who can help turn the tide and really get us where we want to go.”
If you’re getting flashbacks of Alex Rodriguez’s signing, especially when you consider the deepest free agency position to be shortstop, don’t worry. Daniels looks back on this situation and realizes where and why things fell apart.
“The size of the contract that was given to Alex at the time was obviously a record,” Daniels said. “It wasn’t so much the problem as it wasn’t consistent with the rest of the plan, and there was no continued commitment to build, either to promote young players and develop them,” that’s part of it, but it’s also essential to add other key players on the outside. That part didn’t really happen. “
Following the actions of this group in 2021, regarding the farming system, the Rangers are absolutely determined to build an exciting nucleus of young players. Adding free agents as these young players – like Josh Jung and Cole Winn – reach the big leagues – is a whole other business altogether.
Daniels said that based on Rangers’ experience in chasing free agents in the past, three things are important to high profile players: 1) a chance to win 2) being paid at fair market value / being well paid 3) an organization and a community that they, as a player, and their families can be comfortable with and thrive on.
From what Daniels has said about the property’s commitment to spend, points 2 and 3 are the easiest selling points. The biggest hurdle will be convincing the high-end players that they can win in Arlington.
On the surface, it doesn’t look good. This team has just lost 102 games. They do not have all established, have an impact on the veterans of the list. At the end of the season, 13 of the 28 players on the active roster had qualified as rookies. 20 of them had less than two years of service. It’s a wildly inexperienced team.
So Jon Daniels and Chris Young must both be on their “A” game as salespeople. And with Young’s role in luring Jack Leiter to Arlington in this summer’s draft, the Rangers may be one step ahead of what they were before. And this is where the key element of their sales pitch lies: a promising farming system that is considered to be one of the deepest in the game.
“There are a lot of great things going on below the surface,” said Rangers general manager Chris Young. “It’s hard to say after a 102-game losing season. But, as a player, I set that goal and I fully believe it. I look at our farming system and where we are at, I look at the culture and the people we are at. we got here, i look at the market that we are in, i see what an amazingly awesome place it is to live with a fanbase that craves a winning team – players who are ready to understand that and looking at that and seeing what the opportunity is, they’re going to be excited about that. And the competitors that we want are going to grab that. I think we’re going to find the right ones that match what we’re doing. “
“[We can offer] things that for a player I believe speak of a chance to win over an extended period of time, “Daniels added.” As we look to attract players to multi-year contracts, I think it’s going to be important to them. “
In other words, the Rangers build with “a sense of urgency.”
When it comes to the pool of free agents, the Rangers plan to explore just about every position in the market. The deep shortstop class that includes Carlos Correa, Irving native Trevor Story, Corey Seager and Javier Báez have garnered the most attention among fans. The starting rotation will likely see a few additions, and Clayton Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard – both DFW natives – are on the market this winter.
Whether or not the Rangers are successful in adding one of these players, they are expected to add more to several positions.
“We have needs everywhere,” Young said. “I don’t think we are limiting ourselves in terms of ways to improve our squad. I think we have needs everywhere. We are focused and determined to explore every possible way we can to improve our big league club, and do so. in a way that is always disciplined and consistent with our long term vision here of creating a long term championship window. “
As Daniels told us at InsideTheRangers.com, fans might scoff at the message from Wednesday’s press conference. Daniels, Young and Woodward all said the right things behind the mic on Wednesday to get it dispatched to avoid the rough seas of another 100-game losing streak.
Over the next few months, they will have to put the property money where they say it is.
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