Rangers and Mike Napoli avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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The Rangers and Mike Napoli avoided arbitration today by agreeing to a one-year, $5.8 million contract, according to to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Napoli, who was just acquired from the Blue Jays for Frank Francisco earlier this week, requested $6.1 million and was offered $5.3 million from the Angels when arbitration figures were exchanged last Tuesday, so the two sides actually settled a little bit higher than the midpoint. That’s a nice way to build goodwill with a new acquisition.

The 29-year-old Napoli earned $3.6 million last season while batting .238/.316/.468 over 510 plate appearances, establishing career-highs with 26 homers and 68 RBI. It’s unclear how Rangers manager Ron Washington intends to use him, but he’ll likely see some time behind the plate, as well as designated hitter or first base against left-handed pitching.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.