Can the Texas Rangers afford to keep Joey Gallo?

Joey Gallo (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Joey Gallo (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Joey Gallo has broken out this season in the way all Texas Rangers fans hoped and prayed he would, but is it possible he improved too much?

It seems like a ridiculous statement to make, and to some extent it is. How could a player improve too much? Especially on a team like the Texas Rangers who are in dire need of individual improvement from their young players.

This more-competitive-than-we-initially-thought team is still rebuilding, after all. The Texas Rangers are in the thick of things so winning games is the primary short-term goal. But the long-term goal is all about developing players to be cornerstones for the future. And it appears Joey Gallo is one of those cornerstone types of players.

So, what’s the problem?

Joey Gallo may be pricing himself out of the Texas Rangers market. It’s hard to say how much exactly he’ll cost to re-sign long-term but you can bet Gallo and his infamous agent, Scott Boras, intend on swinging for the fences on his next deal (pun deeply intended).

Gallo is dominating most major batting categories. His play this season sparked Chris Woodward to call Gallo his best position player and Scott Boras to refer to him a developing “superstar”. In other words: Joey Gallo is not going to come cheap.

The good news is he’s just approaching arbitration next offseason and is still three years away from free agency.

It really gives them three options:

  1. The Texas Rangers can ride this out, and cross that free agent bridge when the time comes.
  2. Or they can get ahead of this whole thing and try to sign him long-term now.
  3. There’s also the opt out option that Evan Grant referred to last week that involves trading their budding star in hope to recoup a King’s Ransom in return.

Clearly most of us would prefer Option 2 and lock up our superstar for the long-term. But Grant speculated that figure could be north of $150 million over seven years (and I think that’s probably on the low end). Such a deal would greatly inhibit what the Texas Rangers could do in free agency the next three seasons.

That means what you see on this roster and what you see in the farm is pretty much what you have to build a a team the next couple seasons. Sure, the Rangers will be able to offer a couple big deals once Shin-Soo Choo is off the books and the new stadium is built, but as far as position players go – Gallo will be their big investment in the short-term future.

Where a preemptive long-term contract pays off, is four to five years down the road. Overpaying and over committing today means a bargain later (provided Gallo doesn’t decline).

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WAITING… seems like the worst way to go. Yes, it will help the Texas Rangers properly valuate Gallo, but it will also drive the price up considerably. That’s when it could get ugly and that’s where we might see a Top 5 salary come into play.

That means in three years when the Rangers are situated to start paying big in free agency again, they’d be too cash poor to do much of anything beyond Gallo.

Locking him up now may have the same effect early on the deal, but later they’d have more financial flexibility, even if they were paying him $25-$28 million per season on the last few years.

Of course, Option 3 may be the best move in the rebuilding process, but it would be heartbreaking to a fanbase eager to be excited. Trading him probably could pull in a King’s Ransom but at what cost and is that something this team wants to do right now (or when the new stadium opens)?

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Debating the worthiness of contracts is as much a part of the professional game as debating the play itself. What would you do if you were in charge? Trade him for a handful of elite prospects, ride it out and cross the free agent bridge when the time comes, or extend him now and hope he keeps progressing?

  • Published on 06/01/2019 at 12:00 PM
  • Last updated at 06/01/2019 at 11:45 AM