The Rangers Have Money

The Rangers have money. And, they know how to use it. For so long in this mostly screwed-up franchise’s history, these two statements have been mutually exclusive.

The second piece – knowing how to use it – has been in place ever since the Jon Daniels era began. We all know about the transactions he has made, some that have been brilliant (the Teixeira trade, the Cruz trade, and the Cliff Lee trade) and some have been pretty bad (the Alfonso Soriano trade, the Adrian Gonzalez trade, and the John Danks trade).

Even if you only remembered the bad trades, one thing you could say without a doubt is that Daniels has always been frugal and opportunistic with the budget that he has been given. During the Tom Hicks ownership era, Daniels managed to work around bankruptcy to put a winning product on the field. He is a man with a plan, and he has executed it to perfection during his tenure, and that is a significant reason that the Rangers have gone to back-to-back World Series.

The Rangers ownership is no longer bankrupt. In fact, we have quite the opposite situation. Majority owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson are real billionaires (not leveraged billionaires like Hicks), who are committed to this team and putting a winning product on the field. Not only that, but in 2015 a $3 billion, THREE BILLION, dollar TV deal kicks in extra revenue for the Rangers. If you’ve ever wondered why the Yankees can always have such a high payroll, it’s their TV deal.

For Daniels, moving from bankrupt Hicks to the current situation must feel like building a house in which he had to use a rock and a chisel, and now getting a full suite of power tools from Sears.

Bob Simpson did an interview with the Fort Worth Star Telegram in which he had the following to say:
“I think we’re at a moment of inflection where we won’t be just a one-or-two-hit wonder, and we’ll go on to greater things.”

“Financially, the team is young and, to maintain this level of talent, will require more resources. That’s where Ray Davis and I will step in, and we have the vision to sustain this and increase revenues and have a perennial power in baseball.”

“By 2015 the goal is that this team will be self-sustaining, but our payroll may be another 40-50 percent higher.”

“Ray and I stay in the background and support the organization the way we know how. Our expertise is not picking baseball players…You won’t see us out front, but we’ll be active. The guys you’ll see out front are Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels and Ron Washington, and that’s the way it should be.” [cc: Jerry Jones – you may want to pay attention]

Simpson also laid out a plan from 2012-2014, that he and Davis are planning on investing $100 million in capital improvements and payroll to keep the team at the current level of success and bridge the gap to that TV deal in 2015.

The Rangers 2011 team salary was $92 million. A 40-50 percent increase would put them in the $130-$140 million range. In 2011, that would have put them in the top-5 team salaries in the league. The Rangers went to the 2010 World Series with the #27 team salary in the league. They went to the 2011 World Series with the #13 team salary in the league. Based on the track record of the bang for their buck that Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, and Ron Washington have gleaned from this organization the last two years, it’s pretty exciting to dream what they can do with a top-5 payroll.

It is clearly evident that the Texas Rangers have true leadership in place that is committed to excellence and high performance. It feels different. It looks different. It’s a model for success that is going to be sustainable, consistent, and effective.

Because of all of this, the Texas Rangers are a model franchise for other baseball teams, and other Dallas teams. And it is not an accident.

Peter Ellwood

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