Source: Rangers, Nelson Cruz eye deal

Updated: February 9, 2012, 10:48 AM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

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, a source confirmed.

Cruz, 31, hit .263 with 29 home runs 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 in one season was 128 in 2009.

If the deal with Cruz gets 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 last year.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.

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