Rangers, Nelson Cruz working on 2-year deal

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
9:10
AM CT
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and the club are working on the details of a two-year agreement that would prevent the need for an arbitration hearing next week, a source confirmed.

Cruz, 31, hit .263 with 29 homers and 87 RBIs for the Rangers in 2011 and was the ALCS MVP after knocking six homers and driving in 13 runs -- both postseason series records -- in the Rangers' six-game victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Cruz and the club exchanged arbitration figures and were $2 million apart with Cruz wanting $7.5 million and the club countering with $5.5 million.

Cruz was acquired at the trade deadline in 2006 when the Rangers sent a package that included reliever Francisco Cordero to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Lee and Cruz. At the time, Cruz had shown an ability to crush minor-league pitching, but wasn't able to consistently hit in the majors. He didn't hit right away in Texas, either, and revamped his swing in a couple of minor-league stints, eventually returning for a solid end to the 2008 season and became the starting right fielder the next year. Cruz has 106 home runs in 1,893 regular-season at-bats and has driven in 323 runs.

Cruz has dealt with injuries throughout his major-league career. He has been on the disabled list five times the past two seasons, mainly because of hamstring strains. The most games he's played on one season was 128 in 2009.

If Cruz gets a deal done, the club would have one remaining arbitration player in catcher Mike Napoli. When figures were exchanged, the club was offering $8.3 million and Napoli was asking for $11.5 million. Napoli hit a career-best .320 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs in 113 games for the Rangers after he was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for Frank Francisco a month before spring training in 2011.

The Dallas Morning News first reported Cruz and the club were in talks on a two-year deal, while ESPNDeportes.com ran a story last week saying Cruz was interested in staying a Ranger for life and getting a longer-term deal done.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182