by Eddie Middlebrook
Like many Rangers fans on Friday night, I received the Adrian Beltre extension news and was ecstatic. It was one of those rare deals that benefited both parties. Both the Rangers front office and the Beltre/Scott Boras camp should be commended for getting this deal done. While the deal is only for two years, it does come at a steep price (if only from a budget sense) which means there will be other corresponding moves over the course of this season and off-season.
Dominoes Will Fall
While the money is more than fair for a third baseman of Beltre’s caliber, it does put a strain on the franchise’s budget moving forward. The dollars committed for 2017 now jumps from $94.5 million to $112.5 million to nine players. As of today, the 2017 payroll would be north of $160 million. Somebody has to be traded and it could end up being a couple of guys.
One thing that we can say with near certainty is that Mitch Moreland is gone. Some team will pay good money for a first baseman that has above-average defense and can hit against right-handed pitching, but it won’t be the Rangers. Joey Gallo will now fill in at first base with Beltre committed to playing third base through 2018. It is a waste of Gallo’s plus arm, but Nomar Mazara will man one of the corner outfield spots which means Gallo takes over at first base. Joey is not arbitration eligible until 2019.
Trade Winds Blow Into Arlington
At least one of the following contracts will get traded: Prince Fielder (due $18 million per through 2020), Shin-Soo Choo (owed $82 million through 2020) or Elvis Andrus (owed $88 million through 2022). Out of those three players, the most likely to be traded would be Choo. While he is the oldest of the three players and the most costly, the skills that make him valuable (ability to get on base and some pop) are not likely to diminish greatly over the length of the contract. If the Rangers front office wants to keep Darvish beyond 2017, then Andrus could get traded as well.
One or both of these trades would not come until this offseason at the earliest. This gives the franchise the entirety of the 2016 season to properly evaluate Mazara’s ability to replace Choo in right field, and Jurickson Profar’s ability to replace Andrus at short.
Potential 2017 lineup:
RF Nomar Mazara
1B Joey Gallo
2B Rougned Odor
LF Ryan Rua
It’s Not My Money
While most of us celebrate the Beltre signing, it didn’t happen in a vacuum. There are consequences of making this signing as you can see above. For some fans, they expect the ownership group to pay players at all cost and ignore the bottom line.
“It’s not my money” is something commonly said in times like these by fans. Those fans either a) don’t understand that sports is a business or b) do understand, but prefer to pretend that sports is not reality. If you ever run into this type of fan in a bar, at the game or on the World Wide Web, it’s best to respond appropriately.
I suggest the following approach when faced with such a conversation: