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Rangers' Success Needs to Follow Their Rising Payroll

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With almost $40 million committed to its corner infielders, the 2014 Texas Rangers will be the most expensive team in franchise history. But with a variety of injuries from Yu Darvish to Derek Holland to Jurickson Profar to Geovany Soto, will management get appropriate bang for their bucks?

According to salary figures obtained by the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be MLB’s highest-paid team this season with a combined player payroll of $235 million, followed by the Yankees at $203 million and the Phillies, who open the season in Arlington on Monday, at $180 million. The Rangers come in at No. 8 with a franchise-record payroll of $136 million. The Angels are the most high-priced team in the AL West at $155 million (ranking 6th), followed by the Rangers, Mariners (18th, $92 million), A’s (25th, $83 million) and Astros, who again have baseball’s lowest payroll at just over $44 million.

First baseman Prince Fielder ($23 million) and third baseman Adrian Beltre ($16 million) eat up 28 percent of the Rangers’ total payroll, followed by Alex Rios ($13 million), Darvish ($10 million) and Shin-Soo Choo ($7.5 million).

In other words, the days of Tom Hicks pinching pennies in Arlington are merely a distant memory. Money is no longer a hurdle.

But the escalation in salaries hasn’t necessarily equated to rising success.

The Rangers’ payroll has increased steadily since 2010-11, though haven’t made it back to the World Series since those two seasons. In ’10 the Rangers ranked 27th with a payroll of $55 million and 13th in ’11 at $92 million. Last year they were 7th at $129 million and 6th in ’12 at $120 million. So while payroll has more than doubled since 2010, there certainly is no guarantee this year’s team will be any better than the team that made its first World Series four years ago.

And next time you think of baseball as the serene national pastime beloved and played by the common man, consider this: The average salary of a player this year will be $3.95 million; The average salary of the American worker this year will be around $44,000.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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