The Texas Rangers haven't gone to salary arbitration with a player since Lee Stevens in 2000, a case the Rangers won. And they don't want to start a new streak this year.
Arbitration is a nasty thing. Players argue their strengths to a "judge" and their team argues the players' weaknesses and shortcomings. It can get heated and just downright ugly, not to mention ruin a relationship.
But now the Rangers and first baseman/DH/outfielder Mitch Moreland are less than a week away from hitting arbitration and have to settle on a price for the 2014 season, something the Rangers were able to do with Neal Cotts, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz a long time ago.
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Moreland made $502,700 in 2013, when he hit .232 with career highs in both home runs (23) and RBIs (60) while playing a very solid first base. This year, he'll see far less time at first base with the addition of Prince Fielder but will likely serve in the heavy end of a platoon at designated hitter and possibly play some in right field, as well.
When the Rangers and Moreland exchanged arbitration figures, the Rangers offered Moreland $2.025 million for the upcoming season, while Moreland requested $3.25 million. Usually, the settlement is the exact midpoint of the two figures, which would be $2.648 million, and if the sides can't agree to that, they go to an arbitration hearing.
"We’re so close that you’d like to think it can get done," Daniels told The Dallas Morning News. “But you have to be prepared. I’m sure both sides have prepared their cases. I know we have. Hopefully, we don’t have to go down that path.”