Nelson Cruz and the Rangers have a few formalities to go through before the slugger can begin to field offers for his services in 2014 (and beyond).
The Rangers plan to extend the qualifying offer to Cruz, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Texas has five days to do so, which is probably about four more days than they need. Cruz is almost certain to decline the offer, but that doesn't mean he is guaranteed to play elsewhere in 2014. The two parties can still negotiate after they go through the motions of what, in this case, are mere formalities.
Cruz was faced with a decision based on his free agency this summer when he was suspended 50 games for his connection to the Biogenesis spectacle. He chose to serve the suspension immediately rather than at the beginning of the 2014 season, which might have simultaneously improved his market this winter and injured his chances at returning to the Rangers. Cruz missed the home stretch in which the Rangers failed to overtake the A's for AL West lead. They still made the Wild Card and Cruz was activated for that game against the Tampa Bay Rays. But he hadn't faced MLB pitching since August 4th and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Before that one-game playoff, Cruz was hitting .429 with 3 home runs against the Rays starter David Price.
Whether or not Cruz could've helped the Rangers more down the stretch or in the Wild Card game had he opted to serve his suspension in 2014 is pure conjecture. But had he taken one for the team and helped Texas make a deeper playoff run, it certainly seems like they would be more interested in offering him a multi-year deal.
Grant suggests Cruz could be looking for a deal at around a two- to three-years and $15M per season.
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