Rangers avoid arbitration with players

Updated: January 19, 2010, 11:03 PM ET
ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have agreed to terms with outfielder Josh Hamilton and relief pitcher Chris Ray on one-year contracts, the team announced Tuesday.

Hamilton, who had 10 home runs and 54 RBIs during an injury-plagued season, agreed to a $3.25 million deal. The 28-year-old led the American League with 130 RBIs in 2008, his first season with the Rangers.

Ray, acquired from the Baltimore Orioles as part of the Kevin Millwood trade on Dec. 9, agreed to a $975,000 offer. He has gone 10-17 with a 4.11 ERA over 191 career games, all in relief.

Both players had been eligible for arbitration. The Rangers now have two remaining arbitration-eligible players -- RHPs Scott Feldman and Frank Francisco.

Feldman, a 17-game winner last season, is seeking $2.9 million while Texas is offering $2.05 million. Francisco has asked for $3.6 million and the Rangers have countered with $3 million.

The Rangers also made official the signing of pitcher Colby Lewis to a two-year contract with a club option for 2012. The right-hander, who played for the Rangers from 2002-2005, pitched the last two seasons for the Hiroshima Carp of the Japanese Central League, going 26-17 with a 2.82 ERA.

"This is not the development plan we had in mind when he was our top prospect," general manager Jon Daniels said.

Lewis, 30, will make $1.75 million next season and $3 million in 2011, with incentives also worked into his contract. The 2012 option is for $3.25 million with a $250,000 buyout clause.

Lewis won 10 games a rookie for the Rangers in 2003 and was in the rotation to start the 2004 season before tearing the rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Detroit then got him on a waiver claim, but he missed all of 2005 recovering from surgery and made only two appearances for the Tigers the following year. He spent one season with Oakland before going to Japan.

"When I was younger, I didn't have real command of the strike zone," Lewis said. "When I hurt my shoulder, coming back from that, it put me in a situation where I wasn't throwing as hard. So I really had to command the fastball."

Plus, Lewis worked on developing his breaking and offspeed stuff, giving him a better repertoire of pitches.

Lewis had 369 strikeouts and only 46 walks over 354 1-3 innings in Japan. In his 72 major league games before that, he had 155 strikeouts and 124 walks in 217 1-3 innings.

"All the signs, all the attributes that we liked at that time (he was drafted), all the reasons that we thought he would be successful have ultimately come to pass," Daniels said. "He's become a premium strike-thrower with big stuff, a guy that's taken the ball with regularity."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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