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Texas Rangers Sign Nelson Cruz To Two-Year $16 Million Contract

The deal buys out the last two years of team control for the 31-year outfielder, letting him become a free agent after the 2013 season.

After signing Elvis Andrus to a three-year contract earlier in the week, the Texas Rangers avoided a possibly contentious arbitration process with another member of their core when they signed Nelson Cruz to a two-year $16 million contract (plus incentives):

Cruz, a 31-year old 6'2 240 OF from the Dominican Republican, first came to Texas in 2006, when he was a throw-in as a part of a trade that netted the Rangers Carlos Lee.

In the last three years, he has emerged as one of the team's most important players, a power-hitting outfielder at the back end of the order with a powerful arm.

Last season, he hit .263/.312/.509 with 29 HR's and 87 RBI's in 124 games. His durability has been an issue in his time in Arlington, which is why the physical was such a big deal for Texas.

The contract buys out his last two seasons of his team control, allowing the team to avoid arbitration while letting Cruz become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season, when he will be 33 years old.

With the deals for Cruz and Andrus, the only Ranger still set for an arbitration process is C Mike Napoli, although the team would reportedly still like to come to terms on a similar agreement with the former Anaheim Angel.

For the latest news and notes in preparation for spring training, head over to Lone Star Ball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.