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Despite playing in the fourth-largest market in the country, the Rangers' payroll in 2011 was only the 13th highest in the league, totaling under $100 million. This could change, as the Rangers find themselves in line to receive a mother lode of cash.
Last year, the Rangers signed a 20-year, $1.6 billion television deal with Fox Sports Southwest. This deal, which puts them in the same league as the Yankees and Red Sox, allows the Rangers a great deal of room to grow their payroll. If the Rangers moved even halfway between their current payroll and Boston's payroll, they would find $30 million of additional money to spend on talent.
The contract does not begin until after the 2014 season, but the Rangers received a significant bonus upon signing the contract and might be willing to commit to spending some of the money before cashing the check.
What might the Rangers do with this newfound cash? One possibility is ensuring the return of C.J. Wilson. The team showed discipline in not overspending on Cliff Lee during the last round of free agency, and the team could face a similar decision in choosing whether to bring back Wilson.
The Rangers instead might choose to put their faith in their young pitching staff and pursue a big bat for their lineup, mirroring their decision to sign Adrian Beltre after the 2010 season. Many Texas fans are salivating at the thought of adding the big bat of Prince Fielder to their lineup, but the team might also consider a run at David Ortiz, Jose Reyes or other big name options.
Of course, the team could make a run at the biggest prize of all, Albert Pujols, but it would have to tie up a significant portion of its upcoming television contract.