Texas Rangers News and Notes
BY DIC HUMPHREY
ARLINGTON, Texas – Last Thursday, the Rangers held a press
conference to reveal more details about the new ballpark. The HKS
architectural firm was announced by the Rangers to design the park.
HKS was the architect for the Rangers’ current ballpark, originally
named the Ballpark In Arlington, as well as for the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
Bryan Trubey, HKS Executive Vice President, will be heading up
the architectural team. He said about the stadium,
“There are some things (from Globe Life Park) that we’d like to
take to the new park, like the original architecture. But there are
also some things we’d like to improve upon.”
This new park will have a retractable roof to facilitate climate
control. The goal though is to make the ball park more intimate
rather than making the retractable roof the distinguishing
characteristic of the stadium. The park will have a seating capacity
of around 42,000, down from around 50,000 at the original Ballpark in
Arlington with the idea of getting fans closer to the field.
It is envisioned that the park will have other utilizations
besides baseball. “We’re very focused on making this a vibrant
destination year-round,” Trubey said.
The cost of the project is anticipated to be around $1 billion.
The city of Arlington and the Rangers will each be funding half of
that cost. There is still no word from the Rangers as to where their
half will come from, but many season ticket holders fear they will be
called upon to fund a sizeable portion of the cost through seat
licenses to retain their seats. That was the model for the
construction of AT&T Stadium. Indeed, many current season ticket
holders fear the cost will be prohibitive and that they will be forced
to give up their seats.
Certainly, the Rangers did not want to reveal the cost to current
season ticket holders prior to the Arlington election to approve the
city’s side of the funding. The team apparently is holding off until
the season tickets for the 2017 season are largely sold.
The site of the new stadium is immediately south of Globe Life
Ballpark, and it has been utilized for parking. The new ballpark
lease will be for 30 years after the current lease for Globe Life
Ballpark ends in 2023. The Rangers thus will be signed up to play in
Arlington through the 2053 season.
The timetable is still projected to have the park ready for the
2020 season. The design is in the early stages. The final design is
expected to be completed later in the year to facilitate a ground
breaking prior to the end of 2017.
o Starting pitcher Tyson Ross was in town this week to discuss
contract with the Rangers. Ross is coming off shoulder surgery that
limited him to just one start for San Diego last season, and he may
not physically be ready by opening day this year after undergoing
thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October. However, he made 80
starts with an impressive 3.07 ERA over three seasons with San Diego –
2013-2015. The Rangers and Cubs are thought to be the leading
candidates to sign Ross.
o Rangers’ General Manager Jon Daniels did say that it appears
unlikely that the team will re-sign Colby Lewis. The problem is his
projected role. The Rangers are unwilling to commit a roster spot on
the Major League roster and want to sign him to a minor league
contract with an invite to spring training. He would have to make the
team in spring training under such an arrangement.
o The Rangers are in the market for a middle of the order bat, and
the name that is mentioned most prominently is Mike Napoli. However,
the deal that some thought was close to happening around Christmas
hasn’t happened yet. The hang up is thought to be incentive clauses.
o The Rangers signed catcher Steve Lerud and right-handed pitcher
Jaye Chapman to minor league contracts. Lerud’s deal includes an
invitation to spring training.
o Yu Darvish and Jonathan Lucroy go into the final year of their
current contract in 2017. Daniels has said he has had initial
conversations about extending both of them, but that an agreement is
not close with either one. Darvish looks poised to have a big year,
after coming back from Tommy John surgery last year. Assuming he
does, he is expected to command a contract of at least five years at
an average yearly value of at least $30 million. It is doubtful that
the Rangers will step up with an offer of $150 – $180 million to
retain Darvish. Lucroy will not be easy to re-sign either.