Rangers, Mitch Moreland avoid arbitration with $2.65 million deal

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The Rangers and DH Mitch Moreland have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.65 million deal for the 2014 season, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds that Moreland can get an additional $25,000 each for reaching 470 and 525 plate appearances. Moreland was eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. He is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.

With the acquisition of Prince Fielder in a trade with the Tigers back in November, Moreland has been pushed from first base into the DH role. He finished the 2013 season with 23 home runs and a .736 OPS in 518 trips to the plate.

ESPN’s Richard Durrett suggests manager Ron Washington could use the DH spot to get Fielder or third baseman Adrian Beltre off their feet from time to time, so Moreland may get the odd start at first base during the season.

Yasiel Puig was late to a workout on Monday, so Dave Roberts benched him

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Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.

Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.

Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.

MLB, MLBPA grant Pirates exemption for Jung Ho Kang to participate in Dominican Winter League

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.

Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.

Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.