Grading the Contracts of Every Player on the Texas Rangers
As the 2014 season begins to unfold, fans and analysts alike both like to breakdown the value of players on a roster and who is overpaid and well worth their contract. The Texas Rangers are no exception as a team that could face scrutiny or praise for the amount of money they are paying to the players on their roster.
This article aims to breakdown the best and worst contracts on the Rangers roster, looking at how much the player could mean to the team in 2014 and beyond.
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1. First Baseman, Prince Fielder
Remaining Contract: Seven years, $96 million
The Rangers acquired Prince Fielder and $30 million this offseason in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The acquisition of Fielder gives Texas the powerful bat that they needed to solidify the middle of their lineup, and it could be a great move for years to come.
Fielder's contract will keep him with the team through the 2020 season, and at 29 years old, Fielder should be able to produce throughout the length of his deal.
Fielder averages 32 homers a season and 97 RBI. He is a lifetime .286 hitter and has been named to the All-Star game five times in his nine-year career.
He is due to make $24 million a year over his next seven seasons, but once 2016 hits, $6 million of his yearly salary will be paid by the Detroit Tigers.
Fielder has been a great player in the regular season throughout his career but has been unable to produce in the postseason thus far. In 39 postseason games, Fielder has a .194 career average with just five homers and 11 RBI. In his last 18 postseason games, Fielder has failed to hit a home run or drive in an RBI and has only one extra base hit throughout those games.
If Fielder can learn to produce in the postseason, Texas could have a key piece in their lineup to make a championship run for the next several seasons. Only time will tell, but the acquisition of Fielder looks to be a solid move by the Rangers thus far. Now, we have to wait and see how his time with the team will play out.
2. Second Baseman, Jurickson Profar
Remaining Contract: Two years, $1 million
Following the trade of Ian Kinsler, Jurickson Profar was named as the Rangers' everyday second baseman. The move of Profar to second could prove to be a great decision by Texas, assuming that he lives up to the high expectations placed on him.
Profar is a former top prospect in the Rangers organization, but spotty playing time last season led to little success. He appeared in 85 games for the Rangers last season, posting a .234 average with 11 doubles, six homers and 26 RBI.
Profar's 2013 stats are far from impressive, but his minor league stats offer a bit of insight as to what he could do in a full season. In four seasons in the minors, Profar hit .276 with 89 doubles, 17 triples, 34 homers and 169 RBI. He also managed to steal 53 bases while only being caught 17 times.
If Profar can post numbers in the majors similar to those in the minors, Texas could capitalize on the cheap deal they're getting on him right now. He'll come into 2014 with high expectations to live up to. Now, he just needs to produce.
3. Shortstop, Elvis Andrus
Remaining Contract: Nine years, $124.4 million
The Rangers rewarded Elvis Andrus with an eight-year, $120 million contract extension this past season. Andrus is allowed to opt out of his contract in 2018 or 2019, but provided he stays throughout the length of his deal, he could remain with the team through the 2023 season.
After getting off to a shaky start in 2013, Andrus bounced back in the second half of the season. He finished the year with a .271 average, posting 17 doubles, four homers and 67 RBI.
Andrus looked like one of the top shortstops in the league following the All-Star break. After the break, Andrus hit .313 with nine doubles, four homers and 36 RBI, looking like a player who was worth every cent the Rangers were paying him.
He is a lifetime .274 hitter and is a run-scoring machine when he reaches base. In the last three seasons, Andrus has scored a total of 272 runs, stealing 100 bases while getting caught just 30 times.
If Andrus can continue to play like one of the top shortstops in the league, Texas should be able to capitalize on the deal they have in place with him. Let's just hope that the first half of Andrus' 2013 season doesn't become a habit for the star shortstop.
4. Third Baseman, Adrian Beltre
Remaining Contract: Three years, $51 million
There may not be a player on the Rangers roster better than Adrian Beltre. After signing with the Rangers in 2011, Beltre's offensive production has been nothing short of spectacular for Texas.
Beltre has 98 homers and 299 RBI in his three seasons with the Rangers and has hit 30 or more homers in every season with the team. Over the next three seasons, Beltre is due $17 million, $18 million and $16 million, although Texas can opt out of his contract before the 2016 season.
While he's due a large sum of money, Beltre has proven that he is worth the deal that is in place right now. He'll be 37 years old heading into the final year of his deal, which should give Texas the chance to get relatively productive years out of him.
5. Catcher, Geovany Soto
Remaining Contract: One year, $3.05 million
Texas let catcher A.J. Pierzynski walk this offseason after they resigned last year's backup catcher, Geovany Soto. After hitting .245 last season, Soto will be expected to step up his performance in 2014 to help reduce the loss of Pierzynski's bat in the lineup.
Soto has struggled since his 2008 season with the Cubs, when he hit .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBI. He did manage to hit .280 in 2010, belting 17 homers and driving in 53 RBI, but his .245 average last year was his highest since then.
It's hard to say that Soto's contract is a bad deal for the Rangers. He isn't a top player, and he isn't being paid like one. His deal is likely in place to ensure that Texas won't be committed to a catcher long term while they wait for their prospect Jorge Alfaro to make his way to the majors.
The fact that he isn't a top player still lowers the overall value of his deal, but it doesn't make it a bad move for Texas.
6. Left Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo
Remaining Contract: Seven years, $130 million
The Rangers made a giant splash in the free-agent market when they signed outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to a seven-year, $130 million deal. Texas will be committed to Choo through the 2020 season, but he will be an aging veteran by the time his deal is up.
Choo will turn 31 in July of 2014, meaning that he will be 38 by the time his contract expires. Beginning in 2016, Choo will make $20 million a year until 2020, where his contract will increase to $21 million in his final season.
Make no mistake about it, as it stands right now, Choo is a top player at his position. He was fourth in the league in on-base percentage last season (.423) and is capable of hitting 20 homers and stealing 20 bases each season.
While his potential to contribute to the Rangers early on is certainly there, it's hard to imagine a player who doesn't have stellar speed or power being able to sustain his success into his late 30s.
7. Center Fielder, Leonys Martin
Remaining Contract: Two years, $8.5 million
Leonys Martin played in his first full season with the Rangers last year and performed well enough to be the team's everyday center fielder. His contract is one of low value, and that gives Texas a chance to get another great deal on a player with high potential.
Martin hit .260 last season with the Rangers in 147 games. The 25-year-old center fielder managed to hit 21 doubles with eight homers and 49 RBI in 2013 while stealing 36 bases.
If Martin can continue to improve on last season's numbers, Texas could have itself a solid center fielder for at least two more seasons before it is forced to give him a large contract.
8. Right Fielder, Alex Rios
Remaining Contract: Two years, $26 million
Texas knew what it was getting into when it traded for outfielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox. Texas owes Rios $26 million over the next two seasons, with an option to buyout his final year for $1 million.
In 47 games with the Rangers, Rios hit six homers and drove in 26 RBI while stealing 16 bases. He finished the season with .278 average, 18 homers and 81 RBI.
It was initially thought that Rios' cost may be a bit high for Texas, but it may turn out to be a great trade after all. It doesn't appear that the Rangers will be bringing back Cruz at this point, making Rios the team's starting right fielder for at least this season.
9. Designated Hitter, Mitch Moreland
Contract Status Unknown
Mitch Moreland enters 2014 as an arbitration eligible player, and while Texas has tendered him an offer, there is no word on what kind of money Moreland will receive.
According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Moreland is expected to receive $2.5-3 million in 2014, an increase of his $502,000 salary from last season.
He finished the season with a career high in homers (23) and RBI (60) but left a lot to be desired with his .232 average.
Whatever Moreland's salary ends up being in 2014, it's safe to assume that he won't be receiving any large sum of money.
10. Starting Pitcher, Yu Darvish
Remaining Contract: Four years, $41 million
Yu Darvish was on of the top pitchers in the majors last season, finishing the year second in Cy Young Award voting while appearing in his second All-Star game in as many seasons.
After going 16-9 in his rookie season, Darvish saw his win total drop by three games, but he also brought his ERA down to 2.83 after posting a 3.90 ERA in 2012. Darvish also walked nine less batters last season than he did in 2012 while striking out a major league high 277 batters.
He is due to make $10 million in each of the next three seasons, with $11 million coming his way in 2017. Darvish is 27 years old and one of the top pitchers in the league right now. If he continues to pitch as effective as he has in his first two seasons, he could receive an even higher contract, one his first with the Rangers comes to a close.
11. Starting Pitcher, Derek Holland
Remaining Contract: Five years, $45.3 million
Derek Holland has turned himself into a highly effective left-handed pitcher in the majors. His 10-9 record from last season doesn't quite portray the success he had.
In 10 of Holland's 33 starts, Texas failed to score more than two runs in a game, leaving Holland to have to pitch near perfect to get his team a victory. Holland posted the best ERA of his career last season (3.43) and also struck out the most batters in his career (189).
Holland won't begin earning eight figures in salary until 2016, making him a great bargain for Texas for the next two season. Even when Holland does see a significant boost in his salary, he still won't be making more than $11.5 million in a season, which comes in the final year of his deal.
If Holland can continue to build on his 2013 success, he should see more wins come his way and will remain one of the top pitchers in Texas' rotation.
12. Starting Pitcher, Martin Perez
Remaining Contract: Seven years, $31.55 million
The Rangers rewarded lefty Martin Perez for his strong performance last season by signing him to a four-year contract extension this offseason. The contract extension will keep Perez in Texas through the 2020 season and makes him another piece of the Rangers' rotation who can be solidified for years to come.
Perez went 10-6 last season with a 3.62 ERA, striking out 84 batters over 124.1 innings. Perez didn't have a high-strikeout ratio, but the fact that he was able to contain hitters by pitching to contact makes his rookie season a little more impressive.
Texas wasted no time in offering Perez a contract extension. While he had a nice rookie year for the team, you have to hope that Texas didn't overcommit to Perez in offering him this deal. As of right now, Texas looks to be getting a great bargain in signing Perez to a long-term deal.
13. Starting Pitcher, Alexi Ogando
Contract Status Unknown
Alexi Ogando is another player who is arbitration eligible in 2014. The Rangers have opted to tender him a deal, however, there has been no word on the monetary value of Ogando's deal.
Ogando has been with the Rangers since 2010, posting a 26-13 record with a 3.12 ERA. Last season marked the second time in his four-year career that Ogando was used primarily as a starter and not as a bullpen pitcher.
This year looks to be the exact same situation for Ogando. He will likely be slotted in as the team's fourth pitcher in the rotation and has the chance to be a solid pitcher at the bottom half of a strong rotation.
14. Starting Pitcher, Matt Harrison
Remaining Contract: Five years, $61.05 million
Matt Harrison appeared in only two games for the Rangers in 2013 before being sidelined for the remainder of the season with a back injury. He finished with an 0-2 record and an 8.44 ERA, striking out 12 batters while walking seven.
Harrison is entering his seventh season with the Rangers and has been another strong pitcher for them throughout most of his career. In 2012, Harrison posted an 18-11 record with a 3.29 ERA, finishing eighth in Cy Young Award voting that season.
Harrison is due to make $8.2 million this coming season before seeing a boost in his yearly salary in 2015. Once 2015 hits, Harrison will earn $13.2 million per year, with $13.25 million being paid out to him in 2018, the final year of his deal.
If Harrison can come back healthy in 2014 and remain off the disabled list, Texas could be getting yet another good deal on a player who won 18 games just two years ago.
15. Closing Pitcher, Neftali Feliz
Contract Status Unknown
The Rangers let Joe Nathan go this offseason, leaving the closer spot in 2014 up for grabs. According to the team's depth chart, the closer right now looks to be veteran Neftali Feliz.
Feliz has been a key pitcher out of the bullpen for Texas since 2009, and he even spent two years as the team's closer in 2010 and 2011.
The Rangers avoided arbitration with Feliz last season when they signed him to a one-year, $2.9 million contract, with a chance to earn more money on incentive-based play.
Feliz made his 2013 debut with the Rangers in the final month of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2012. Texas needs a closer, and Feliz is the guy with the most experience at that position. He won't be hauling in a big payday this coming season, so Texas could have themselves a great bargain at closer if Feliz works out.
16. Remaining Bench Players
Here are the remaining contracts and grades for players who will mostly see situational roles for Texas off the bench in 2014.
1. Catcher, J.P. Arencibia: One year, $1.8 million (B-)
2. Infielder, Adam Rosales: One year, $750k (C+)
3. Outfielder, Michael Choice: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
4. Outfielder, Jim Adduci: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
5. Catcher, Robinson Chirinos: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
6. Outfielder, Engel Beltre: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
17. Remaining Bullpen Pitchers
Here are the remaining contracts and grades for the bullpen pitchers on Texas' roster.
1. RHP, Matt West: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
2. RHP, Tanner Scheppers: Two years, $1 million (A)
3. LHP, Robbie Ross: One year, $500k (B)
4. RHP, Jason Frasor: One year, $1.75 million (B+)
5. LHP, Michael Kirkman: One year, $500k (C+)
6. LHP Neal Cotts: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
7. RHP Joakim Soria: Two years, $12.5 million (A-)
8. LHP Joseph Ortiz: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
9. RHP Cory Burns: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
10. RHP Shawn Tolleson: One year, $500k (B)
11. RHP Ben Rowen: Contract Status Unknown (TBD)
12. RHP Lisalverto Bonilla: Contract Status Unknown TBD