The clock is ticking on the Texas Rangers’ streak of avoiding salary arbitration, and they will have to settle with three players to avoid their first hearing since 2000.
The Rangers and right-hander Shawn Tolleson, left-hander Jake Diekman and first baseman Mitch Moreland were unable to agree on a 2016 contract Friday before the deadline to exchange salary figures.
The Rangers haven’t been to a hearing since Lee Stevens asked to have a three-man panel of arbiters determine his salary for the 2000 season, and lost.
“I expect we’ll settle at least one of the three, and likely more than that,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “But we’ve got to circle back with the agents now that the filing numbers are in and talk through where we go from here in each case.”
7 Rangers players who filed for salary arbitration earlier this week. Four of them settled before Friday’s deadline to exchange salary figures.
Tolleson figures to receive the biggest boost after making $519,700 last season. He saved 35 games to be voted the Rangers’ pitcher of the year, and is seeking $3.9 million for 2016.
That would be a 650 percent raise. The Rangers countered at $2.6 million.
The biggest difference, though, was with Moreland, who asked for $6 million while the Rangers countered at $4.675 million. Moreland, coming off the best season of his career, made $2.95 million in 2015.
Diekman is asking for $1.55 million, with the Rangers filing at $975,000.
Four others who filed for arbitration earlier in the week settled, with catcher Robinson Chirinos ($1.55 million) and righty Tanner Scheppers ($900,000) agreeing Friday before lunchtime.
The Rangers haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing with one of their players since 2000 with first baseman Lee Stevens. A three-man panel of arbiters sided with the Rangers.
Righty Tom Wilhelmsen ($3.1 million) and infielder Jurickson Profar reached deals Wednesday and Thursday.
The players’ agents and the Rangers will continue to hammer out a deal before hearings are scheduled to begin Feb. 1. The club nearly went to a hearing with Mike Napoli in 2012 before the sides found common ground.