Davis says team will be flexible with budget

Rangers owner meets with reporters to discuss variety of topics

Davis says team will be flexible with budget

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The signing of outfielder Ian Desmond put the Rangers over their expected payroll budget. But owner Ray Davis, speaking to the media before Wednesday's Cactus League opener, said ownership will continue to be flexible when it comes to the Rangers trying to fill their needs.

"We set a budget early," Davis said. "We know how much we want to spend. Do we violate that? Sometimes we do."

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When the Rangers payroll is finally set to open the season, they are expected to be in the mid-$150 million range.

"It's always painful to write a check," Davis said. "It was a need and we wanted to fill the need. We are trying to put the strongest team on the field. It's an economic decision, not a player decision, on my part."

Davis said the Rangers owners will remain flexible this summer. If the Rangers are in contention and general manager Jon Daniels wants to make a big move at the July 31 Trade Deadline, Davis said ownership will strongly consider it.

"I found out the hard way Jon will spend whatever we give them," Davis said. "It depends on the need and what he can do to bring us a world championship. That's always the case. It doesn't mean you don't want to be fiscally responsible. You've got to be fiscally responsible in the long run. You can't go crazy, but you have to be flexible."

Also from Davis in a rare session with the media:

• Davis said his concern for fan safety is why additional netting was placed in front of the dugouts at Globe Life Park. The Rangers were already compliant with Major League guidelines but Davis said, "This is not a liability decision, it's not a legal decision. It comes down to right or wrong. If one person's grandchild got hit by the ball, I couldn't live with myself."

• The ballclub is working on a way to raise the nettings behind the dugout during batting practice so fans can still interact with players at that time.

• Davis said the Rangers are seeing a strong increase in season-ticket sales after winning a division title in 2015.

• The price of oil and gas is not impacting the Rangers' financial outlook. Although many in the ownership group come from the oil and gas business, the ballclub is run separately from their other business entities.

• It doesn't sit well with Davis that the Rangers academy in the Dominican Republic is one of the worst in the country. The Rangers are close to purchasing the land and building a state-of-the-art facility.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.