One down, three to go.
The Texas Rangers and left-handed pitcher Neal Cotts have agreed on a one-year contract for the 2014 season worth $2.2 million as Cotts becomes the first of the club's four arbitration players to sign.
That leaves pitchers Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando and infielder/DH Mitch Moreland as the remaining arbitration-eligible players. If the Rangers can't sign those players to contracts by Friday, the two sides will exchange figures and a hearing date will be set for sometime in February. The Rangers haven't been to a hearing since Lee Stevens in 2000.
Cotts, in his first big league action since 2009, was 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 57 innings over his 58 appearances with the Rangers. He tied for the major-league lead in relief wins and had the second-lowest ERA, the best in club history for a relief pitcher.
Cotts opened the year at Triple-A Round Rock and was 3-1 with a 0.78 ERA in 15 games before his promotion to Texas on May 21. From that date on, his 58 appearances were the most of any major league pitcher.
Cotts is 18-15 with a 3.99 ERA in 342 career games with the White Sox, Cubs, and Rangers. He missed all of the 2010 and 2011 seasons because of injuries.