The Rangers will avoid arbitration hearings for the 19th consecutive year, agreeing to one-year deals with their only two arbitration-eligible players.
The Rangers will pay right fielder Nomar Mazara $3.3 million in 2019, a jump of $2.8 million over his 2018 salary.
Delino DeShields, the incumbent center fielder who may have to fight to win the majority of playing time, will go $1.4 million. It is more than double his 2018 salary of $561,000. Together with Joey Gallo, who is not yet eligible for salary arbitration, the Rangers figure to pay $5.3 million for their starting outfield. That is about 25 percent of what they will pay expected DH Shin-Soo Choo, who will earn $21 million.
The deals were both slightly less than had been projected by MLB Trade Rumors, which tries to predict arbitration salaries. The website projected Mazara to earn $3.7 million and DeShields to get $1.9 million.
Mazara’s deal was in line with what Minnesota’s comparable outfielder Max Kepler agreed to earlier in the day. Kepler is a “Super 2” arbitration case and has about 20 days fewer service than Mazara. He received $3.125 million. Kepler has 56 career home runs and a .730 OPS; Mazara 60 home runs and a .746 OPS.
The Rangers now have 12 players under contract for 2019 at $86.8 million in base salary. With pre-arbitration players filling up another 8-10 spots, that will take the payroll for current players to about $92 million. Still seeking some infield and pitching help, the Rangers are likely to end up with a payroll for current players — not including salary settlements to the likes of Prince Fielder and others no longer with the team — right around $100 million.
The Rangers have not gone to arbitration with a player since 2000 with Lee Stevens, who was traded shortly after his arbitration hearing.
General manager Jon Daniels, who has been with the club in some capacity since 2002, has never been in an arbitration hearing in any role.