Why the Texas Rangers must cut corners this winter in free agency


The Texas Rangers are in unfamiliar territory this winter and must navigate frugally if they want to build a winning team.

The Texas Rangers are in a nightmare situation these days. They have more holes to fill than resources available to fill them. That’s why Jon Daniels and the Rangers are going to have to get creative this winter. And that’s why they’re going to have to cut some corners along the way.

After finishing a jaw-dropping 21 games behind the first place Houston Astros in the AL West, it’s clear the Texas Rangers have some work to do. For the team that’s been so successful the better part of the last decade, their window has now closed.

Rebuilding the franchise goes without saying. Everyone knows changes must be made and some tough choices are coming down the pipe. The only debateable part of this rebuild is to what extent the Rangers will attack this, and subsequently how long that rebuild will take.

Players Wanted

The Texas Rangers must essentially rebuild their entire starting pitching staff. With only Cole Hamels and Martin Perez on staff as proven commodities, Daniels must find at least four starting quality options in free agency. Sure there’s only five starters  on a team, but when was the last time the “planned five” were the “actual five”. Rangers fans know all too well the sorted injury history of the starting rotation and going into spring training with six capable starters must be considered the bare minimum.

Cutting corners this winter isn’t just a suggestion – it’s a necessity.

Additionally, the Rangers need to address the bullpen as well as centerfield. But if the Rangers want to rebuild their rotation, it’s going to have to be at the cost of these two areas because the Rangers are simply out of money.

No Money – Big Problem

The Texas Rangers spent over $185 million in payroll last season ranking them eighth in the league. Next season, even with all of their free agents set to depart, they are coming in seventh in payroll. After ownership has approved increased payroll year after year for Jon Daniels, they are finally going to tighten the belt a bit.

That means the Rangers not only have their biggest offseason to-do list, but they will have to complete that list with less resources than before. Cutting corners this winter isn’t just a suggestion – it’s a necessity.

Do you love the Rangers? Join us at Sport DFW and write a weekly column!

The Rotation

The starting rotation is the single most important area to address and throwing money at position players this winter will only further limit the Rangers resources to properly address that situation.

Ideally Hamels would serve as the No. 2 guy and Perez as the No. 3 guy. But that would require the Rangers throwing $200M at a No 1 guy and leaving next to nothing left over for the rest of rotation. Frankly, that’s a longshot given the Rangers hesitation in the past to sign high-priced pitchers.

More from Texas Rangers

Cutting Corners

The Texas Rangers will likely have the option of bringing back a couple proven players on one-year deals. Andrew Cashner and Carlos Gomez both look like possibilities as one-year stop-gaps. The only problem is both are expected to garner salaries at or above $10 million.

Contracts like that may be low commitment contracts but doling out over $10 million per player isn’t really “cutting corners”. Finding cheap solutions like Delino DeShields in centerfield may not be optimal but it’s effective. Especially from a cost perspective.

On the mound, the Rangers should target players similar to Tyson Ross’ profile. Clearly he didn’t work out as we all hoped but he was signed to a low- risk, low-investment, high potential type of deal. If Texas wants to get back into this they are going to have to take gambles like this again.

Next: Time to trade Adrian Beltre?

There’s no clear solution to rebuilding the Texas Rangers into a contender again, but with such a daunting offseason ahead, they’re going to have focus on cutting corners wherever they can so they can save their real resources on players to build around.