Mitch Moreland in Arbitration With the Texas Rangers


Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

When Mitch Moreland was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2007 MLB draft the club believed they were drafting a future left-handed power hitter.  Moreland proved the Texas Rangers assumptions were correct.  His first two years in the minors he had excellent batting lines with .259/.308/.398/.706 in 2007 and .324/.400/.536/.936 with 18 home runs in 2008.

Mitch Moreland played for two different Texas Rangers minor league teams in 2009.  At the end of the season Moreland was assigned to the Arizona Fall League and was named the “Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year.”  With an invitation to Spring Training in 2010 the Rangers clearly saw the potential in the first baseman.

July 29, 2010 Mitch Moreland was called up to replace Ian Kinsler, who was placed on the DL. He got his first big league hit at his first at bat against the Oakland Athletics. Moreland finished the season hitting .255/.364/.469/.833 with nine home runs and 25 RBI in only 47 games.

Mitch Moreland had great success in 2011 as well.  He started off the season red hot and finished the first half of the season with a batting average of .272.  He finished the season with 134 games, and posted a batting average of .259 with 51 RBI, 16 home runs. He didn’t have great postseason numbers, but he did hit a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Going into 2012 spring training, Moreland was recovering from surgery he had on his right wrist in December 2011.  Before his injury in June 2012 he had 10 home runs and a .272 batting average.  The Texas Rangers placed Mitch Moreland on the disabled list on June 22, 2012 with a strained left hamstring he suffered running to first base on June 19 against the San Diego Padres.  After returning on July 31, 2012 he ended the second half of the season with a batting average of .278 for a combined season .275/.321/.468 and only 15 home runs.

Mitch Moreland started the 2013 season with the Texas Rangers wielding a heavy bat that helped the Rangers move to first place in the AL West.  He hit .288/.338/.561 with 12 home runs.  That ended on June 6, 2013 when the Texas Rangers placed Moreland on the 15-day disable list due to a Grade 1 hamstring strain he suffered the night before playing the Boston Red Sox.  In the back-end of the season, Moreland ended with .183/.273/.366 line with 10 homers.

Moreland is the only player remaining in arbitration with the Texas Rangers.  Neal Cotts, Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando have all come to agreement with the Rangers to avoid an arbitration trial.

Currently, Mitch Moreland is asking for $3.25 million and the Rangers are offering him $2.025, the $1.225 million is quite a difference of opinion.

Usually, a deal is reached between player and club between the time salary numbers are exchanged and the hearing date is set.  However, if the two sides cannot come to an agreement an arbitrator will decide which number wins, based on which salary offer is closest to other salaries of players with equal abilities and play time.  The salary arbitration hearings began on February 1, 2014 and end on February 21, 2014.

The Texas Rangers have avoided arbitration hearings since Lee Stevens in 2000 and haven’t seen one since Jon Daniels became general manager. Once in the hearing phase there is no more negotiating, it is literally the point-of-no-return. Hopefully, before going to the hearing the two can come to an agreement around the midpoint of $2.638 million.