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Rangers' payroll to remain near $133 million

SAN DIEGO -- The Texas Rangers' 2015 payroll won't be that much different from what it was in 2014.

General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers will have a payroll close to the $133.5 million they had last season.

The Rangers have an estimated $110.3 million tied up with 10 players, which includes high-priced veterans Prince Fielder ($24 million), Adrian Beltre ($18 million) and Elvis Andrus ($15 million). Matt Harrison, who might not pitch in 2015 due to back surgeries, is scheduled to earn $13.2 million.

Of course, the Rangers will add salary in either free agency or via a trade, but it won't be much.

It's clear the $10.5 million deal outfielder Torii Hunter received from the Minnesota Twins was too much for the Rangers, who were in the hunt for him before he signed with the Twins.

There are other players on the trade market, the Atlanta Braves' Justin Upton for instance, with one year remaining on their contracts. Upton fits a need for the Rangers: a power-hitting outfielder with just one year of team control.

Upton's salary, $14.5 million, and the high-level prospects it will take to get him, is a combination that doesn't appeal to the Rangers.

It's not like the Rangers have limited resources, but they've elected to not morph past the $133 million salary range. Making smart business decisions during this offseason is key for the Rangers when it comes to finances.

But last year, the club spent big money in the offseason.

They signed Shin-Soo Choo to a seven-year, $130 million deal and by trading for Fielder picked up $168 million in salary, though the Detroit Tigers, who traded Fielder to the Rangers, will kick in $30 million for the final five years of the deal.

Those big-money contracts, in some ways, are preventing the Rangers from doing anything major in free agency. From the first day of the offseason, Daniels said the club won't be a big player in free agency. Daniels' hope is to boost the roster by making deals with other teams.

The money was already spent on Choo and Fielder, and then check out the extensions given to Andrus (eight years, $120 million) and Harrison (five years, $55 million) in recent years.

Daniels is awaiting a return on these investments, and after such a poor 2014 season, it's difficult for him to spend more money on free agents or acquire expensive talent in trades.

"We're willing to trade for the right deals," Daniels said. "It's got to be the right fit."

So far, Daniels hasn't found that fit, but the offseason is just getting started.