ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are trying to work out contract agreements with outfielders Nomar Mazara and Delino DeShields before hitting a potential file-and-trial deadline Friday evening.
Mazara and DeShields are the Rangers' only arbitration eligible players. Texas hasn't had an actual arbitration hearing since Lee Stevens in 2000. General manager Jon Daniels has been working in Major League Baseball since '01 and has never been in a hearing.
But it is always a possibility in the arbitration process. Rangers assistant general manager Shiraz Rehman and front office aides Ben Baroody and Mike Parnell are running point on the task of avoiding a hearing.
"[Avoid a hearing] is always the goal," Daniels said. "We've had conversations. All things being equal, you'd rather have a negotiated settlement."
Friday is a deadline only if clubs make it one. That is the day clubs exchange arbitration figures with their players, and the actual hearings will be scheduled in February.
Clubs have the right to continue negotiations with players and their agents right up to a hearing. But there is an increasing sentiment in baseball for clubs to adopt a file-and-trial philosophy. That means if a club is unable to reach agreement with the player before exchanging arbitration figures, it will cease negotiations and take matters to a hearing.
Daniels said the Rangers don't follow that philosophy, except in certain cases. Although Texas has avoided a hearing since 2000, Daniels said the Rangers were close to going with Mike Napoli in '12 and Mitch Moreland in '15.
"Both times we were on the plane and had our cases ready to go," Daniels said.
Daniels, on Thursday, also addressed other topics concerning the Rangers.
Gallo to be in outfield
Daniels said the Rangers are planning on Joey Gallo playing the outfield this season, although the exact position has yet to be defined. Daniels said the Rangers don't see Gallo at first base this season and third base has been ruled out.
Gallo, as far as the outfield, has been used mainly in left field, but his tremendous arm may be better suited to right. He also has the athletic ability to play center even if DeShields is the leading candidate.
"[Gallo] is going to play the outfield," Daniels said.
Guzman front runner for first-base gig
Ronald Guzman is not a lock to be in the Rangers' Opening Day lineup, but first base is his job to lose. Guzman played in 123 games for Texas this past season and hit .235 with 16 home runs and 58 RBIs. He had a .306 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage.
"He has the best chance of being at first base, but he's got to continue to earn it," Daniels said. "He did a good job last year and has had a good offseason, but that's just the nature of the game."
Rangers will likely continue to build pitching staff
Texas is closer to being set in the starting rotation than it is in the bullpen. The Rangers have added three starting pitchers this offseason in Drew Smyly, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller to go with Mike Minor and Edinson Volquez.
The Rangers aren't concerned that Smyly, Miller and Volquez did not pitch last season while recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. There is still a month to go before Spring Training and a large number of veterans still available on the free-agent market.
It would be a major surprise if the Rangers don't continue to add starting pitching, but the mood isn't as urgent after signing Miller.
"If everything goes well, we've got five guys with Major League track records," Daniels said. "Three didn't pitch last year, but they are all in great spots. They are all ready to roll. We just want to make sure we are covered. We could add a guy on a guaranteed deal or guys on a protection [Minor League] deal."