Rangers and Mike Napoli have discussed contract extension

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The Rangers may end up spending over $120 million in order to sign right-hander Yu Darvish, but that isn’t going to stop their efforts to lock up some of their core players.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the Rangers have had “several conversations” with Mike Napoli’s representatives about a multi-year contract. He earned $5.8 million in 2011 and is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter.

Napoli, who was acquired from the Blue Jays last January, batted .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs, 75 RBI and a 1.046 OPS over 432 plate appearances this past season. The 30-year-old was also a monster during the postseason, hitting .328 with a .414 on-base percentage, three home runs and 15 RBI.

It will likely cost a pretty penny to keep Napoli around for the long-term following his breakthrough season, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote this evening that “there’s a very good chance” he’ll have an extension by Opening Day based on what he’s heard this offseason.

Durrett reports that the Rangers have also discussed multi-year deals with Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland this winter, though no deals are believed to be imminent.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.