The Rangers are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:
Eligible For Free Agency (7)
- Josh Hamilton - Hamilton will be the best and most discussed position player available in free agency this offseason. He's a superstar when healthy, but his injury issues will deter some suitors and his past off-field troubles may scare others. Even so, Hamilton figures to sign for at least $20MM per season on a long-term deal. The Rangers will make him a qualifying offer if they don't lock him up first.
- Mike Adams - It's early, but Adams' strikeout rate, swinging strike rate and average fastball velocity are down so far in 2012. He still limits walks and generates ground balls, so he adds value out of the bullpen even when he's not striking out a batter per inning.
- Mike Napoli - Napoli appears to seek a contract in the $50-75MM range and the Rangers haven't met his asking price so far. However, they'll presumably be comfortable making him a qualifying offer after the season.
- Colby Lewis - Lewis has been an effective starter despite his league-leading 13 home runs allowed. The Rangers need someone to eat innings at the back of their rotation, and the right-hander has been up to the task these past two-plus seasons.
- Yorvit Torrealba - The Rangers are an exceptional team in many ways, but like everyone else they need a backup catcher.
- Koji Uehara - Uehara has struck out 7.56 times as many hitters as he has walked in his career, and no pitcher in MLB history can match that ratio (minimum 150 career innings per Baseball-Reference).
- Mark Lowe - Lowe is off to an excellent start in 2012. As with Adams and Uehara, it's too early to say whether he'll re-sign this offseason.
Contract Options (2)
- Scott Feldman: $9.25MM club option with a $600K buyout. Feldman has become a spot starter for the Rangers, so it's safe to assume they'll decline this option.
- Yoshinori Tateyama: club option for an unknown amount (his 2012 option was valued at $1MM). Tateyama is pitching effectively at Triple-A, and appears to be on his way up to join the big league team. He could earn a spot on the '13 team with a strong finish.
Arbitration Eligible (4)
The Rangers face a relatively small arbitration class, partly because they already extended Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz. Feliz, the converted reliever, will have an unusual arbitration case given his change in roles. Harrison and Murphy are on track for raises as second and third-time eligible players.
2013 Payroll Obligation
The Rangers have increased payroll steadily in recent years and the 2012 club will cost more than $120MM. They've already committed $84MM to next year's team, so another payroll increase could be forthcoming.