Arbitration process begins for Texas foursome
Moreland, Cotts, Feliz and Ogando all file; salary figures to be exchanged Friday
ARLINGTON -- Rangers designated hitter Mitch Moreland and pitchers Neal Cotts, Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando all filed for arbitration on Tuesday.
This will be the first time Moreland and Ogando have been through the arbitration process while it will be the second time for Feliz. Arbitration hearings will be held sometime in February if the two sides can't reach an agreement on a new contract before their scheduled date.
The Rangers have been in touch with the agents of all four players in the hopes of avoiding arbitration hearings. The respective sides will have a better idea of where they stand on Friday, when salary figures are exchanged. The Rangers have not had an arbitration hearing with a player since Lee Stevens in 2000.
Feliz avoided a hearing last year by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.9 million while finishing his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He ended up appearing in just six games after being activated off the disabled list in September.
Ogando made $506,000 last year while going 7-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 18 starts and five relief appearances. Moreland made $502,700 while playing in 147 games and hitting .232 with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs.
This will be the fourth time Cotts has been eligible for arbitration, but the first time since 2009 while still with the White Sox. That was before multiple hip and elbow injuries that kept him out of the Major Leagues for almost four years. Cotts, after being signed to a Minor League contract, made a terrific comeback with the Rangers last season, going 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA in 58 appearances while earning $750,000.
Cotts can be a free agent after the upcoming season. Feliz won't be a free agent until after the 2015 season, while Ogando and Moreland have to wait until after the '16 campaign. All four will likely get some kind of raise that will add another $9 million to $10 million to the Rangers' payroll.
The Rangers avoided an arbitration hearing with infielder Adam Rosales by signing him to a one-year, $750,000 contract back in November. The Rangers have also locked up pitchers Matt Harrison and Derek Holland as well as shortstop Elvis Andrus to long-term contracts that kept them from going through the arbitration process. Outfielder Craig Gentry is also eligible for arbitration, but he was traded to the Athletics on Dec. 3.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.