Possible future home for Joey Votto?
First baseman: Mitch Moreland. When your first baseman bats ninth, he's usually replaceable.
Contracts off the books: Michael Young ($16 million per season through 2013); Joe Nathan ($7 million per year through 2013).
Analysis: For the Rangers, it's not quite as simple as eventually taking the salaries of Young and Nathan and giving that money to Votto. Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli are signed through 2012; Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz could become free agents after 2013. Some of the younger players like Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz will be entering their arbitration years and receive big pay increases. So the Rangers' payroll will increase even as they likely part ways with Young in a couple years. Still, the Rangers will have room to expand well beyond their estimated 2011 payroll of $93 million, especially when their new local TV deal kicks in in 2015.
The other teams listed:
Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue Jays
Whether the Rangers get interested enough to pursue depends on what kind of season Mitch Moreland has, among other factors. The payroll will be increasing and even with the TV deal, they'll have to be smart in how they allocate funds. But it's a fun thing to toss around, even if it is a few years early.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.