The Rangers agreed to a one-year contract for $1,615,000 with reliever Frank Francisco that will avoid a possible arbitration hearing and they are close to a non-roster contract with free-agent shortstop Omar Vizquel. Vizquel will come into camp primarily as a utility infielder and backup to rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus. Vizquel is also on Venezuela's provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic. Francisco is one of three Rangers who filed for arbitration, but the two sides wrapped up an agreement before exchanging salary figures on Tuesday. That leaves pitcher C.J. Wilson and outfielder Marlon Byrd as the two pending arbitration cases.
The Rangers have had productive conversations with both but are still expected to exchange salary figures on Tuesday. Francisco was 3-5 with a 3.13 ERA and five saves in 58 games for the Rangers in 2008. All five saves came in the final five weeks of the season and he goes into camp as the leading candidate to be the Rangers closer.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.