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Rangers 1-year deals with Gold Glovers Gallo, Kiner-Falefa

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

By STEPHEN HAWKINS

AP Baseball Writer

The Texas Rangers agreed to one-year deals with right fielder Joey Gallo and expected starting shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa on Friday, avoiding arbitration with their two Gold Glove winners.

Gallo got a $6.2 million deal, after last season earning $1,629,630 prorated of the $4.4 million salary he agreed to to avoid arbitration last year.

Kiner-Falefa won a Gold Glove at third base last season, but the Rangers have already said he will go to spring training with the opportunity to be their starting shortstop. His $2 million deal is up from his $587,000 salary for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season when he got $217,407 prorated.

With the agreements, the Rangers will again avoid a salary arbitration hearing. They haven't had one since 2000, with first baseman/outfielder Lee Stevens.

Gallo won his first Gold Glove for standout defense last season, though he struggled at the plate. The 27-year-old outfielder hit .181 with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs in 57 games in his sixth MLB season since being the 39th overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft.

He was an All-Star in 2019, when he hit .253 with 22 homers in 70 games before right wrist surgery - and went deep in the All-Star Game. That came after consecutive 40-homer seasons despite hitting under .210 in 2017 and 2018. In 473 big league games, Gallo has hit .208 with 120 homers - and 122 singles.

The Rangers said in December that the 25-year-old Kiner-Falefa would go to spring training as their top shortstop and that 32-year-old Elvis Andrus needed to prepare to play all infield positions. Andrus is the longest-tenured Ranger after 12 seasons and the only player remaining from their back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.

Kiner-Falefa hit .280 in his third big league season, when he earned the starting job at third base in camp. He started 42 games at third base, and another 15 games at shortstop when Andrus was injured. The Rangers had even used Kiner-Falefa as a catcher the previous two seasons as a way to get him in the lineup.

Texas also signed 19 international free agents Friday, including eight from the Dominican Republic and eight from Venezuela. The group included center fielder Yeison Morrobel from the Dominican Republic with a $1.8 million signing bonus and two shortstops, Danyer Cueva from Venezuela ($1,025,000) and Yeferson Tineo from the Dominican Republic ($600,000).

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Updated January 15, 2021

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