Rangers Budget Update After a Couple Acquisitions

Chris Halicke

Happy Black Friday, everyone! May you take advantage of every discount and avoid being trampled to death in the process.

Black Friday consumers aren't the only ones who took advantage of discount shopping this week. The Texas Rangers got a head start on the market and landed themselves a potential steal.

On Wednesday, the Rangers and free agent starting pitcher Kyle Gibson agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract. Gibson, 32, is coming off a 13-7 season with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in 160 innings in 2019. 

The Gibson signing is much like the Mike Minor and Lance Lynn signings Texas made the past two winters. In fact, the Lance Lynn contract is the same length and value of the deal with Gibson. We broke down the deal a little further earlier this week. 

As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported, the contract with Gibson likely won't be announced until sometime next week. 

The night before agreeing to the contract with Gibson, the Rangers claimed Nick Goody off unconditional release waivers from Cleveland. Goody, 28, has five days from the time of the claim to accept or reject the assignment. He had a 3.54 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 40.2 innings with the Indians in 2019. 

Before these two acquisitions, the Rangers had one open spot on their 40-man roster. The waiver claim for Nick Goody takes precedence over the Gibson signing, which is why Gibson's deal won't be officially announced until next week. 

If Goody rejects the assignment, Gibson's deal will likely be announced by the ball club and the spot on the 40-man roster will be filled. If Goody accepts the assignment, the 40-man roster will be full and the Rangers will have to make a subsequent move to open up a roster spot for Gibson.

Money, Money, Money

With the Rangers still in on the big time free agents, let's take a closer look at what the payroll looks like after these two potential signings. 

Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 10.18.18 AM

Nick Goody is highlighted since we still don't know if he will accept the assignment to the Rangers or not, but let's just say he accepts it. The blue-highlighted number for Goody [and other players] reflects their projected arbitration salaries. 

Gibson's contract is not on the table since we do not know how the contract is broken down year by year yet. We also don't know who will be taken off the 40-man roster to make room for Gibson.

Since Gibson's deal is the same terms as Lance Lynn's, which the final two years can be seen on the table above, let's assume it's identical to Lynn's contract. Lynn's salary in 2019 was $9,333,333. 

If Gibson makes the same salary as Lynn did last season and a league-minimum player is designated for assignment to clear that spot, the Rangers' updated payroll will be at $126,932,833. As we talked about in our last budget story, the highest the Rangers' payroll has ever been is just north of $163 million in 2017. If this is the Rangers' ceiling this winter, that give Texas about $36.5 million left to play with this winter. 

Of course, Rangers' ownership could consider inflation since 2017 and bump the payroll near $170 million, but that is purely conjecture mixed with a little bit of optimism.  

If $36.5 million is all the Rangers have left to spend, it's hard to see Texas addressing third base and starting pitching with big-name players. They could shell out money for one or the other, then bargain shop for the other spot.

Texas is aggressive in signing a third baseman, and have reportedly been on the top two prizes in Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson. Rendon is younger and has more years of good baseball left in him, but Donaldson would be more cost effective on a shorter contract while still playing at a high level. 

Jon Morosi of MLB Network suggested Donaldson may sign for the same annual value that he made in 2019, which was $23 million. Donaldson will require at least a two or three-year deal, with the latter being more likely.  If Texas signed Donaldson to a contract worth $23 million annually, that would give them at least $13 million to address another rotation spot or other needs like catcher, first base, or center field. 

If Texas went all in and signed Rendon to a contract likely worth $30 million per year, there wouldn't be much more to spend unless ownership really wants to expand payroll to where it's never been before in franchise history. 

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, hopefully the hot stove will be kicked up a notch or two. The next highlight of the baseball offseason is the Winter Meetings, which will be held in San Diego, CA from December 9th-12th. The Rule 5 Draft concludes the Winter Meetings on December 12th. 

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