From Baseball Time in Arlington comes a breakdown of players salaries and the realization that $10,000,000 seems to be missing from the equation:
Even if you elect to get really conservative and factor an $8 million allowance for contract buyouts/deferred money into the equation, you should — based on what we know to date, anyway — still be looking at having $10-plus million available for roster-strengthening purposes … and that’s where this really bizarre discrepancy between the company line and the media line comes into play. Sure, you probably can’t sign an elite free agent or trade for a premiumly-priced talent with that sum of money, but there are a lot of other things you can do. Conversely, there isn’t much you can do with nothing.
If these chilling reports are indeed accurate and the Rangers seriously cannot afford to even marginally upgrade their payroll, then there’s a very simple question to be asked: what on earth transpired in the last two months that warranted snatching $10-plus million out of management’s hands and effectively crippling the ballclub’s limited, but still-existing market maneuverability? Did it mysteriously vanish into the ether or something? If the answer is actually “nothing,” then why did Ryan say what he said in front of the Ballpark media contingent on October 6th? And if all of the reports are erroneous, is there some compelling reason why the ballclub hasn’t made an effort to set the record straight?
It’s certainly not my intention to descend into the realm of conspiracy theorizing, but it would seem that there are questions to be asked here — questions that the Rangers obviously can’t respond to with the luxury of full disclosure, but questions that should, if nothing else, remain within our sphere of consciousness. It’s highly agitating to envision a scenario where any and all enticing offers and opportunities for roster improvement communicated to the general manager are sadly rejected due to something so inexcusable as a cash shortage. With all due respect to Tom Hicks, that is not “business as usual.” That’s a fool’s game.
Again, the quibble here does not concern Hicks’ once-upon-a-time proclamation that Texas could field a championship-caliber team with a payroll between $70-80 million. Forget payroll expansion altogether for a moment. If the Rangers’ financial situation has actually achieved critical mass, the concern progresses from not being able to improve the roster to not being able to sustain the roster. At that point, you have to begin worrying about whether a payroll reduction might be on the horizon before the ownership situation becomes settled, and what sort of long-term ramifications could stem from such drastic actions … and even if you’re only thinking about that possibility, you have justifiable cause to be alarmed.