Texas Rangers payroll cuts not as extreme as they sound

UNSPECIFIED, USA - MARCH 07: General Manager Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers speaks to the press at a news conference regarding Yu Darvish's sprain condition on March 7, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. It was announced that Yu Darvish has a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in right elbow and could be heading to season-ending Tommy John surgery. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, USA - MARCH 07: General Manager Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers speaks to the press at a news conference regarding Yu Darvish's sprain condition on March 7, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. It was announced that Yu Darvish has a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in right elbow and could be heading to season-ending Tommy John surgery. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers plan to drop payroll by over $50 million for 2021 does not mean that they will take drastic measures.

It would be easy to understand if Texas Rangers fans would be heading into 2021 with some trepidation. The franchise has finally embraced the idea of a rebuild, as they have realized that their attempts to cobble a respectable team together on the fly are not working in a competitive AL West.

And then came the news that the Rangers would be looking to cut payroll. As Texas would have spent $153 million on their roster this season without being pro-rated, some cuts would be understandable. However, the Rangers reportedly are not looking to exceed $100 million in salary for 2021.

That certainly seems like a major cut. Even though a rebuilding team would nominally be trading away higher priced players, getting rid of over $50 million in salary is somewhat extreme. Yet, this number is not exactly what it seems.

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In fact, a large portion of that salary reduction will be happening naturally. Shin-Soo Choo will be a free agent, removing his $21 million salary from the books. The Rangers are certain to decline Corey Kluber‘s option, paying him $1 million instead of the $18 million team option for 2021. Prince Fielder will no longer be receiving $24 million per year either, as his contract has come to an end.

Those three contracts alone account for $64 million, which would put Texas below their target. The Rangers have also said that neither Elvis Andrus nor Rougned Odor are assured of their jobs heading into 2021; while trading Odor may be a pipe dream, Andrus could still have some value on the trade market. Meanwhile, the Rangers will be plugging some prospects into their lineup, which will give more financial flexibility.

Even though the Rangers are chopping their payroll, it is possible that they continue to look to supplement their roster. A stopgap pitcher or two could be added with the idea of flipping them at the trade deadline. This news is not as dire as it would seem.

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The Texas Rangers are chopping their payroll by a hefty sum for next season. However, that decrease is not as significant as it would seem considering the salaries already coming off of their books.