One piece of offseason business for the Texas Rangers was completed this week, with all four arbitration-eligible players signing contracts without having to exchange salary figures with the club.
Outfielder Ryan Rua agreed Tuesday for $870,000, and the final three came to terms Friday. Left-hander Jake Diekman took home the biggest payday, agreeing on a 2018 contract for $2,712,500; right-hander Keone Kela agreed for $1.2 million; and infielder Jurickson Profar will be paid $1.05 million.
The deadline to avoid exchanging salaries was noon Friday.
The Rangers kept alive their streak of avoiding an arbitration hearing. They haven’t been since 1999, when they beat Lee Stevens. General manager Jon Daniels has never gone to a hearing.
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Diekman pitched only in September after returning from three surgeries to correct ulcerative colitis, but his performance gave the Rangers hope heading into this season. Diekman could open the season at closer if the Rangers don’t sign another reliever.
Among those available who might interest the Rangers are lefty Tony Watson, who has ties to manager Jeff Banister from their time together in Pittsburgh, and right-handers Addison Reed, Matt Albers and Sergio Romo.
Kela, who might have the best power stuff in the bullpen, hasn’t yet proven that he can stay healthy enough to take the closer’s role.