The Texas Rangers have avoided arbitration and reached an agreement with slugger Ryan Rua. Where will Rua play and how will he impact the Rangers in 2018?
Pitchers Jake Diekman, Keone Kela, and infielder Jurickson Profar are still unsigned and are arbitration eligible for the 2018 season. Expect the Rangers to get these deals settled quickly. The Rangers haven’t had an arbitration hearing since Lee Stevens in 2000.
Last season, Rua hit .217 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 63 games with the Rangers. He played better in Triple-A, hitting .266 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 46 games in Round Rock last season.
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The 27-year-old is a career .246 hitter with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs in parts of four seasons with the Rangers. He offers Texas not only depth in the infield, but in the outfield as well. Rua played mostly first base and left field with Texas last season.
He doesn’t offer a bunch of upside, but did hit 32 homers in the minors during the 2013 season. There is some pop in his bat, but finding it consistently has been a problem. Rua will have to battle for every at-bat in 2018.
He’ll battle with youngster Willie Calhoun and Drew Robinson for playing time in Arlington. One advantage for Rua is being a right-handed hitter. The Rangers are lefty heavy and having a right-handed power bat off the bench is needed.
It would be surprising if Rua didn’t make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He’s not likely going to be a starter in the MLB. Rua does have the upside of a quality power bat off the bench. Hopefully he can remain consistent enough to stay on the roster.