The Texas Rangers are coming off a surprisingly great year in which they won the AL West title for the first time since 2011, after it appeared they were on their way to another last-place finish after the season's opening month.
That success almost certainly has Jon Daniels & Co. entering the winter with all kinds of plans of how to capitalize on the success and continue to build the club into a World Series contender. But the truth is, with the Rangers' finances the way they are, the only way they're going to have money to throw around this winter will be if the team's ownership decides to empty out their pockets.
First off, let's start with the premise Yovani Gallardo opts to go search for a long-term deal, which he'll almost certainly get. That would mean he'll turn down the Rangers' qualifying offer of $15.8 million for one year and free up that money for the Rangers to spend. That's great, right? Welp, not so fast.
Next season, Shin-Soo Choo's massive deal jumps $14 million to $20 million. Derek Holland's deal jumps from $7.4 to $10 million, and Martin Perez's goes from $1 million to $2.9 million. Adrian Beltre's deal goes from $16 million to $18 million in what will be the final year of his deal with the Rangers.
That alone is a $12.5 million increase in pay roll from guys who are under contract — almost equal to the Gallardo windfall of $15.8 million with $3.3 to spare. You add in guys who are up for salary arbitration and will definitely get raises (Jake Diekman, Robinson Chirinos, Shawn Tolleson and especially Mitch Moreland), and you're looking at even more money committed to guys currently on the roster.
Oh, and Cole Hamels is due $23.5 million in 2016, so there's that, too.
So unless the Rangers' owners want to get crazy and go play with the biggest of the big boys in baseball, you can't expect much financial flexibility available to go out and spend money on the free agent market this winter, meaning the Rangers will need to get creative.