ARLINGTON, Texas — I'm not exactly sure why Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels made himself available to the media before Monday's Game 5 — the series isn't over, at least not yet — but he did shed some light on future plans for the reigning AL champions.
Now free from an uncertain ownership situation and the watchful eyes of a bankruptcy court judge, Daniels said he expects to have a much bigger checkbook to wield this offseason as he looks to retain his core and build upon it.
This year's opening day payroll was $55 million, a total that was just ahead of the A's, Padres and Pirates. Daniels wouldn't divulge what he's been greenlighted for, but ...
"I've got a general idea of what it's going to be, and it'll definitely be north of where we've been the last couple years," he said. "I can't tell you exactly how much north it will be at this point, but yeah, I would expect we'll have the ability to be more active than we have been the last few years."
That's good news for Rangers fans because, as Daniels himself pointed out, this year's 90 wins probably won't be enough to win the AL West in 2011. Not when Angels owner Arte Moreno looks ready to spend some cash and A's general manager Billy Beane could reap the benefits of some cheap young pitching like his Bay Area counterpart Brian Sabean.
Daniels' chief goal, of course, will be to offer Cliff Lee(notes) a contract that will get him to stay in the Metroplex and not chase his riches elsewhere. Other projects include re-signing Ron Washington to another contract, figuring out if Vladimir Guerrero(notes) will return for another year as DH and what they'll be doing at catcher with Bengie Molina(notes) and Matt Treanor(notes) set for free agency. Daniels has a busy (shortened) offseason in front of him when you also consider that arbitration years for players like Josh Hamilton(notes) and C.J. Wilson(notes) are calling.
So before Daniels even looks to the free-agent market, he'll probably have to hand out a lot of the extra dollars to players on this World Series roster. It'll be a challenge, though one certainly made a bit easier after a successful and enriching run to the World Series.