Rangers Ownership Has Long-Term Plan in Place
Rangers part-owner Bob Simpson sat down with Drew Davison of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram to talk about receiving the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the plan the ownership group has for the organization going forward.
While I congratulate Mr. Simpson on an award that is much deserved, it's the latter part of that conversation that caught my attention in a big way.
Much has been made already about the Rangers new TV deal with Fox Sports netting the club $80 million in revenue each season beginning in 2015, but what happens over the next three seasons; especially considering the core of the team will all be due for extensions before that deal goes into effect.
When asked about the future of the club financially, Simpson addressed both the new TV deal and the period between now and then saying "We just need to bridge the gap [between now and the TV contract] to get this franchise to permanent success."
With strong financial backing the Rangers ownership group have the means to give General Manager Jon Daniels a payroll surpassing current revenue streams but that would mean operating at a loss over the next three season, something most owners would be unwilling to do.
Apparently this ownership group is prepared to do just that.
Said Simpson, "We'll fund the deficit of the team from the owner's pockets unlike teams, such as the Dodgers, who have taken money out of the franchise. So, we're going to put $100 million into it over a four-year period to supplement the team"
This is huge, both for 2012 and the future of the organization.
Simpson not only said the owners will bridge the gap to the new TV deal allowing Daniels to keep the core of the team in place and make a splash or two in free agency, but he's also assuring Rangers fans the revenue from that deal with Fox Sports will be put back into the team, something that is hardly a guarantee in sports.
The Rangers are bringing back virtually the same team already next season and arbitration players will likely cause the payroll to rise a little over the $92 million from last season.
Simpson told the Star-Telegram the payroll may rise "40-50%" as the club tries to retain the core and make necessary additions to keep the club in contention.
An increase of that magnitude would give the Rangers a payroll of $128-$138 million consistently each season putting them at the high end of those teams outside of New York and Boston.
One thing the Rangers and Jon Daniels have proved the past few seasons is a high payroll guarantees nothing.
However, the limited payroll Daniels has worked with up to this point will likely make the Rangers GM a very selective shopper as opposed to those who would spend every dime just to make a splash making Daniels perhaps the perfect GM in sports to give a huge amount of money to work with.
Not to mention Rangers President Nolan Ryan isn't likely to ok a ridiculous contract; just look at what happened with Cliff Lee last December.
Put it all together and you can begin to see what the Rangers are planning to do this winter and in the future, but let's look at the possibilities for this offseason.
The Rangers are likely to lose CJ Wilson in free agency, but the rest of the team is coming back making them contenders for a third straight AL West Championship as is.
We all know Daniels won't just sit on this roster despite consecutive World Series appearances so what can he do.
For starters, pun intended, Daniels needs to add to the Rangers rotation starting with a replacement for CJ Wilson.
For now the Rangers rotation includes, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando; a rotation that could change should the club move closer Neftali Feliz into the rotation.
Count me as one of those skeptical of that particular move, mainly because he is likely to wear down just like Ogando did in 2011 and the reliever market is already ridiculous with the Phillies and Ryan Madson setting the bar at four years, $44 million.
The Rangers would be better off signing Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt or both if the opportunity presents itself and keeping Feliz in the bullpen.
This gives the Rangers a power bullpen and upgrades the starting rotation substantially, not to mention it guarantees top prospects like Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez another much needed season of development at AAA Round Rock.
It also gives Daniels the resources to sign free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
Yeah, I know the Rangers already have a great offense but there is a gaping hole at first base and in the middle of the order.
The Rangers offense has both speed and power which is great, but the power is dominantly right handed allowing teams to burn their left handed specialist on Josh Hamilton.
Adding Prince Fielder to this offense gives manager Ron Washington the ability to give the opposing manager a migraine trying to play the matchups against the middle of the Rangers order by going L-R-L-R.
Mitch Moreland may have been hurt the second half of the season like Daniels said a week ago, but that doesn't explain his Chris Davis like first half either.
The Rangers have been unable to develop a powerful bat at first base and it's time to bite the bullet and secure the position for the next seven to nine seasons and Prince Fielder is the perfect player to do just that.
Adding Fielder also gives Daniels the ability to trade Moreland this offseason before his trade value craters like Chris Davis last season, something I'm sure the Rangers have to have at least in the back of their minds.
I'll be the first to admit I don't know what moves the Rangers will make this offseason, no one saw the Adrian Beltre signing coming in November last year, but I do know Daniels has the resources to go in a variety of directions now and there isn't a GM in all of sports I trust more than him.