Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 1/17/12
The Texas Rangers made significant strides Tuesday in their bid to avoid salary arbitration again but three significant hurdles remain. The Rangers are still trying to reach agreements with catcher Mike Napoli, shortstop Elvis Andrus and outfielder Nelson Cruz after reaching accords with four players. "We had seven guys going into the process," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We're always hopeful and optimistic we can get all of these done without going through the (arbitration) process." The biggest gap the Rangers will have to clear is with Napoli. The club has offered Napoli 8.3 million and the Napoli camp is seeking 11.5 million. Despite the wide gap, it's unlikely the sides will go to arbitration. The Rangers were 3.3 million apart last offseason with Josh Hamilton before agreeing on a two-year deal and avoiding a hearing. Texas offered Andrus, who is in his first year of arbitration, 2.65 million. He wants 3.6 million. Cruz is seeking 7.5 million and the club is offering 5.5 million. The Rangers haven't gone to salary arbitration with a player since Lee Stevens in 2000. While Levine knows that streak will eventually come to an end, he's hoping it's not this year. "Any time you file you're one step closer to a hearing room," Levine said. "There's always an opportunity to settle. There are avenues to pursue before you concede to go to a hearing room. We have historically done everything in our power to creatively try and avoid that." Texas agreed to terms with David Murphy, Mike Adams and Mark Lowe early Tuesday and then closed the day by agreeing to a deal with left-hander Matt Harrison for 2.95 million. Harrison was asking for 3.5 million and the club offered 2.45 million.
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