Rangers add Robertson, Jankowski; still no word on Garcia
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The World Series champion Texas Rangers finalized deals Friday with veteran reliever David Robertson and outfielder Travis Jankowski, but still have no agreement with AL Championship Series MVP Adolis García in advance of salary arbitration hearings.
Robertson will get $10 million in 2024 and has a mutual option for $7 million in 2025 that includes a $1.5 million buyout. The speedy and versatile Jankowski, who led the Rangers last season with 19 stolen bases, got a one-year deal for $1.7 million.
García was the only of eight Rangers eligible for salary arbitration who didn't reach a deal with the team two weeks ago. The two-time All-Star slugger, who set an MLB postseason record with 22 RBIs last fall, requested $6.9 million and Texas offered $5 million. That was the widest gap among the 23 players around the league who exchanged salary proposals with their teams.
“Everybody knows the situation we’re in. Right now, we’re waiting on the hearing that’s coming, and everything’s been the same as of right now,” García said through a translator before the team's annual awards dinner Friday night.
General manager Chris Young said there has been good dialogue with García and his representatives, and described being “very encouraged by the back and forth.”
Robertson's deal was finalized after he completed a physical. He has pitched for five teams since coming back from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and much of 2021. He made 120 appearances over the past two seasons.
The right-hander has pitched for seven teams in his 15 big league seasons, the first seven with the New York Yankees. He has been to the playoffs nine times, winning the 2009 World Series with the Yankees and the 2022 National League pennant with the Phillies. He is 63-42 with 175 saves and a 2.90 ERA in 793 regular-season games, along with a 6-0 record and 3.04 ERA in 42 postseason games.
Jankowski hit .263 with a career-high 30 RBIs in 107 games last season. His 63 starts were spread among all three outfield spots.
Texas traded outfielder J.P. Martínez to Atlanta for minor league right-hander Tyler Owens, and designated for assignment right-handed pitcher Daniel Duarte to make room on the 40-man roster.
García will get a large raise no matter what happens. The Cuban outfielder, who turns 31 in March, was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after making $747,760 last season when he set career highs with 39 homers and 107 RBIs. He had 27 homers and 101 RBIs in 2022.
Asked about reconciling the business of baseball, García responded in English.
“It's hard for me because you know how I play, everybody know me. I just go out there and try to and try every time to get the win for the team,” he said. “Try to be a good teammate and sometimes I cannot understand how this works. But just a little bit disappointed. But it is what it is. I’m here to help the club, be the same guy.”
García said he didn't know if there was a chance to avoid a hearing. The Rangers haven't been to one since 2000 with designated hitter Lee Stevens.
An emotional leader with a big bat for the Rangers, García hit .357 with five homers and 15 RBIs in the ALCS against Houston. He went deep in five consecutive postseason games, including his 11th-inning winner in Game 1 of the World Series against Arizona. But he missed the last two World Series games with an oblique issue.
“I feel good,” García said through a translator, adding he took about a month off after the season before resuming workouts. “Still very happy and proud of what the team was able to accomplish, and looking forward to next (season) and helping my team repeat it.”