Texas Rangers owner and general managing partner Ray Davis said on Tuesday that signing Yu Darvish to a contract extension before he hits free agency after the season remains a possibility even though the club is already saddled with the highest payroll in franchise history.
Davis didn’t provide a firm number during a sit down with Rangers beat writers, though the payroll is thought to be nearing $170 million, but said that he would like the Rangers to always remain below the luxury-tax threshold.
That threshold is $195 million this season.
A Darvish extension wouldn’t affect this season’s payroll, but allowing him test the open market and drive up his price could have a greater effect on future payrolls than an extension.
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“Darvish is still here for 2017, and he’s a really good from of mind and physically very strong and I expect him to win the Cy Young,” Davis said. “He’s expressed an interest to stay here, and we’d love to have him.”
Keeping him would help the Rangers meet their annual high expectations of winning the World Series. Davis is committed to doing his part financially to help the Rangers achieve that.
“We’re going to try to win every year,” Davis said.
He also said that one of the highlights of the off-season was the Rangers’ ability to keep their young players and prospects after a series of trade deadline deals took a bite out of the farm system.
That’s one reason the payroll was pushed, Davis said, and it could be pushed again to field a competitive club in 2020 for the first year of the new ballpark. The Rangers are expecting an attendance bump in the new ballpark and with the revenue generated from Texas Live!, they could have extra money to fund the payroll.
Davis also said that he’s like to see the Rangers extend their player development agreement with Triple A Round Rock once it expires after the 2018 season, but he is open to purchasing a controlling interest of a Triple A club if the Houston Astros swoop in and take Round Rock.
That’s a distinct possibility with Nolan Ryan, who owns the Round Rock team, and his son Reid working with the Astros.