Rangers opt to tender 2014 contract to Mitch Moreland

12/02/2013 11:00 PM

12/02/2013 11:01 PM

All 26 unsigned players on the Texas Rangers’ 40-man roster will be tendered 2014 contracts after the non-tender deadline passed Monday without any shakeups.

Included in those 26 are five players who are eligible for salary arbitration, and among those five is the one player who had a chance, albeit a small one, to be non-tendered. But the Rangers have plans for Mitch Moreland.

Despite a disappointing 2013 season in which he swatted 23 homers but batted only .194 in his final 98 games and .232 overall, Moreland still has support inside the organization. Though he has lost his job at first base to Prince Fielder, Moreland is in position to be the Rangers’ primary designated hitter and occasional first baseman and left fielder.

“He may play left, but it’s mainly going to be DH or first base when I DH Fielder or give Fielder a day off,” manager Ron Washington said Monday. “In the outfield, it might be five or six games. We’re not looking at 50 or 60 games.”

Craig Gentry, also arbitration-eligible, figures to be the Rangers’ fourth outfielder. The club continues to look for a primary left fielder, with free agents Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz among its off-season targets, but could end up with the right-handed-hitting Gentry in a platoon with a lefty-hitting outfielder.

The quest to fill out the 2014 roster is ongoing but will gain steam beginning next week at the annual winter meetings in Orlando, Fla.

“Come Sunday, we’ll see much more movement,” Washington said.

Alexi Ogando, penciled into the back end of the rotation, and relievers Neftali Feliz and Neal Cotts are the other three Rangers players who are arbitration-eligible.

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