Rangers, Neftali Feliz avoid arbitration with one-year, $2.9 million contract

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The Rangers and right-hander Neftali Feliz have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.9 million contract, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The deal includes $1 million in performance-based incentives.

Feliz, 24, was arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. The Rangers have him under team control through 2015.

After pitching exclusively as a reliever over his first three seasons in the majors, Feliz was moved into the starting rotation last season and posted a 3.16 ERA and 37/23 K/BB ratio over 42 2/3 innings prior to being placed on the disabled list in May with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He attempted to rehab the injury at first, but eventually opted for Tommy John surgery in August. He’s expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2013 season, but the Rangers could bring him back sooner out of the bullpen.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.