Friday newsletter time: Could Rangers’ impasse with Garcia lead to an extension?
(AP photo/Julio Cortez)
The largest difference in baseball between player and club in salary figures filed Thursday night belongs to Adolis Garcia and the Rangers at $1.9 million.
Garcia, the American League Championship Series MVP, submitted $6.9 million for his first year of salary arbitration, and the Rangers countered at $5 million. Seven other players reached agreements.
The Rangers have never been a file-and-trial team, meaning that they continue to negotiate before a potential arbitration hearing. They haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since beating Lee Stevens in 2000.
The impasse is probably temporary. Garcia’s number doesn’t seem remotely outlandish for a player who hit 39 home runs, drove in 107 runs and scored 108 times. He batted only .245, but he also won the Gold Glove in right field and is the player who brings the most energy day in and day out.
Garcia would seem to be a player the Rangers would want to keep from becoming a free agent after the 2026 season, so perhaps not agreeing Thursday gives the sides time to work out a contract extension.
A deal might be tricky, with Garcia entering his age-31 season, but buying out his three arbitration years and his first two of free agency seems reasonable.
That would take him to 36 years old, and a club option would get him to 37. As hard as he plays and with Wyatt Langford far younger and on the verge of his MLB debut, an older Garcia could become a full-time designated hitter.
Anyone else on board?
The Rangers have some other extension candidates to consider, starting with Gold Glove catcher Jonah Heim. Josh Jung, Evan Carter and Langford might have to do a little more to earn an extension, considering the last time the Rangers locked up a young player early in his career.
It was Rougned Odor. The man at the top of baseball operations has changed since then, but ownership hasn’t.
The arbitration stuff was newsy Thursday because of the names involved. The bigger roster news, though, was the signing of free-agent catcher Andrew Knizner (the first n is silent).
He signed a one-year deal worth $1,825,000 two months after being non-tendered by the Cardinals. He has some power, hitting 10 home runs in 224 at-bats last season, but statistically isn’t a fabulous pitch framer.
Knizner would seem to move to the front of the pecking order to be Heim’s backup, ahead of Sam Huff. Rangers general manager Chris Young indicated this offseason how happy the Rangers were with Huff’s progress in 2023, but they had some concern that he didn’t catch enough as he was inactive for long stretches while with the big-league club.
The roster spot will be won in spring training. Huff was granted a fourth option year, so more time at Triple A Round Rock is a possibility.
As for Knizner, he worked extensively with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux in St. Louis and caught left-hander Jordan Montgomery. For those attempting to put some pieces together, Montgomery has a 4.31 ERA in 14 games with Knizner catching. However, 11 of those were in 2023, and Montgomery had a 3.62 ERA.
New at Rangers Today
A few notes from your favorite independent full-time Rangers-related website:
Start with the video release of the latest episode of the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast (subscribe here) with Dane Dunning, who joined us last week to discuss his charity event next Friday night.
Stream to End MS will take place on Twitch as he and several baseball players, including Heim and Derek Holland, square off in Call of Duty. Dunning’s first stream came in 2021 shortly before his first spring training with the team.
Donate if you can.
Up next, take a gander at T.R. Sullivan’s Hall of Fame ballot, which he revealed Thursday on Rangers Today. He ticked off the anti-Omar Vizquel crowd, but no ballot makes everyone perfectly happy. Mine should hit the website in the next couple of days.
Cody Bradford will be joining John Moore and me today for another episode of the podcast. Momentum continues to build for the live podcast Thursday night at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. in Grapevine. Guests who have committed to appear include Maddux, Holland and Matt Hicks.
Another should be announced today.
As always, get full access to Rangers Today for $5.99 a month or $60 a year by clicking here.
Me, on Sunday night and Monday. Enjoy.
Bed time.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/yNiLzExF3s
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 10, 2024
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com