Wednesday February 21st, 2024 1:23PM

ALCS MVP Adolis García reaches $14M, 2-year deal with Rangers to avoid arbitration, AP sources say

By The Associated Press

Adolis García and the Texas Rangers agreed Thursday to a $14 million, two-year contract, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing between the AL Championship Series MVP and the World Series champions.

The deal is pending a physical, according to two people familiar with the agreement. Those people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the contract, which includes escalators, wasn't finalized.

García was the only Rangers player eligible for salary arbitration who didn’t reach a deal before last month's exchange of proposed salaries. A hearing had been scheduled Thursday in Scottsdale, Arizona. García would have again been eligible for arbitration next winter.

The two-time All-Star slugger, who set an MLB postseason record with 22 RBIs last fall, was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He had requested $6.9 million and Texas had offered $5 million. That was the widest gap among the 23 players around the league who exchanged salary proposals with their teams.

García had indicated through a translator before the team’s annual awards dinner two weeks ago that he was prepared for a hearing. General manager Chris Young had said then there had been good dialogue with García and his representatives, and described being encouraged by those.

The Cuban outfielder, who turns 31 next month, made $747,760 last season when he set career highs with 39 homers and 107 RBIs in 148 games. He had 27 homers and 101 RBIs in 2022. He can become a free agent after the 2026 season.

An emotional leader with a big bat for the Rangers, García hit .357 with five homers and series-record 15 RBIs in the ALCS against Houston. He was the first player with RBIs in six consecutive games within the same postseason series.

He went deep in five consecutive postseason games, including his winning homer in the 11th inning of the World Series opener against Arizona. But he missed the last two World Series games with an oblique issue. He also missed 10 games late in the regular season because of a patellar tendon strain in his right knee.

García had said before the Rangers' annual awards banquet on Jan. 26 that he felt good. He said he took about a month off after the season before resuming his workouts.

After making his MLB debut in 21 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018, García's next big league appearance was three games for the Rangers during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

García went to spring training with Texas in 2021 as a non-roster invitee after being designated for assignment by the team, but was called up two weeks into the season. He became an All-Star, hitting .243 with 31 homers and 90 RBIs in 149 games, and finished fourth in the balloting for AL Rookie of the Year.

The Rangers haven’t been to salary arbitration hearing since 2000 with designated hitter Lee Stevens.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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