Thursday, September 23, 2004

Hicks warns that payroll will stay static 

Despite the Rangers' unexpected success and the fact that the team has turned a profit this year, Tom Hicks yesterday warned fans not to expect a significant jump in payroll.

Randy Galloway is ripping Hicks this morning for making the announcement in the midst of a pennant race, rather than waiting until after the season. He also rips Hicks for something that, I think, is more problematic...the fact that the ARod trade, which was supposed to be about "financial flexibility", has instead ultimately been about saving Tom Hicks money.

I'm not too worked up about payroll not skyrocketing next year, in large part because I'd like to see some of the young pitchers the Rangers have coming up get opportunities in the rotation, something that won't happen if the payroll goes back up to $90 million and folks like Kevin Millwood are given big deals to join the rotation. If the Rangers' attendance goes up in 2005, it may lead to payroll getting back up to the $80-90 million range in 2006, although the quotes from Hicks make me a bit suspicious of that actually happening.

Hicks seems to be positioning himself so that, if the team succeeds, he can justify not raising payroll because the team is playing well with a low payroll. But if the team struggles, then fans don't come out, and he can justify keeping payroll low because revenues are low, and it doesn't make sense to pump money into a struggling team.

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