Nelson Cruz's two-year deal now official
February, 9, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
The Rangers and outfielder Nelson Cruz have agreed on a two-year contract through 2013.
Sources said the deal is worth $16 million plus $500,000 incentives.
The contract allows Cruz and the Rangers to avoid next weeks’ scheduled arbitration hearing and another one next offseason.
Cruz, 31, is coming off a 2011 season in which he hit .263 with 29 homers and 87 RBIs. He was the ALCS MVP after putting up huge offensive numbers, including a postseason series record six home runs and 13 RBIs in helping the Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers in six games.
Cruz and the Rangers had exchanged arbitration figures last month to reveal a gap of $2 million with Cruz asking for $7.5 million and the Rangers offering $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 in one season was 128 in 2009.
Catcher Mike Napoli is now the only remaining arbitration player the Rangers have on the roster. When figures were exchanged, the Rangers offered $8.3 million and Napoli asked for $11.5 million after hitting a career-best .320 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs in 113 games for the Rangers in 2011. Napoli was traded to Texas last January from Toronto for reliever Frank Francisco.